Dram Review: Ben Riach Batch 1 (That Boutique-y Whisky Company)

Thanks to master of malt for sending me this sample. Ben Riach is the sister distillery of Glendronach and, when you pass it in Speyside, it looks like it should have a visitor centre. For example, there are flags and attractive signs outside that are not normally seen at distilleries that are closed to the public. However, they do not admit visitors (at least not at the time of writing), though I hear this could be changing soon…

This expression is part of master of malt’s “Boutique-y whisky company” range. This means artistic labels, 50cl bottles and, usually, excellent whisky! On the label, you see monkey’s turning the barley. This links to the distillery because Ben Riach malt their own barley. If you are not sure about the monkey’s, read up on “Monkey Shoulder”.

Here are the dramstats:


  • ABV 48.2%
  • Price £49.95 here

Nose: Vanilla, fruit pastils, faint green apple and citrus, creme brulee, faint hint of fudge and cherry yogurt.

Palate: Fudge, toffee, vanilla, hint of salted milk chocolate (yes you can buy that now and it’s awesome!), strawberry (but the kind that you find dried in a cereal bar).

Finish: Vanilla fudge and toffee with drying oak. It becomes calky with furniture polish and a hint of chocolate to cover the fudge.

Verdict: I like it and the price is good to. To be honest though, I’d like to try an unpeated official bottling before deciding whether this was an excellent example of a Ben Riach. I mean they could all be amazing and this could just be par for the course 😉



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