BenRiach Malting Season Third Edition Single Malt Scotch Whisky Review & Tasting Notes


One month each year, the folks at BenRiach Distillery spread barley on its malting floor, observe it while turning it by hand, and pick the “perfect” time to move it to the kiln to dry and stop the germination process.


I’ve reviewed each annual Malting Season release from the storied BenRiach Distillery. Led by Dr. Rachel Barrie, BenRiach is a Speyside distillery known for doing things in its own way. Here we are again, and it is time to explore Malting Season Third Edition.  


This single malt scotch whisky pays homage to a time when BenRiach was mothballed. While no distillation occurred, its malting floor remained active, providing peated malt to other distilleries. Today, only eight floor-malting distilleries are left in Scotland; one of those few is still BenRiach.


“Every year during ‘Maltings Season’ our team hand malt select barley onsite. This historic process pays tribute to our founder, John Duff, and the slow craft of his historic maltings which we continue to this day in the pursuit of exceptional flavor. Malting Season Third Edition has malt sweetness on the nose with wild bergamot, pear and meadowsweet honey. The palate leads to a burst of clementine, floral honey and gentle barley spice, followed by flavors of apricot, malted almond and traces of wild cherry.”Stewart Buchannan, Benriach’s Global Brand Ambassador


Malting Season Third Edition carries no age statement; however, it was aged in virgin oak and former Bourbon barrels from 100% malted concerto barley distillate that came off the still on November 2, 2012. Malting Season is naturally colored. It is packaged in a 750ml bottle at 48.3% ABV (96.6°) with a suggested price of $159.99.


Will the Third Edition hold up to the previous two? We’ll #DrinkCurious to answer that, but first, I must thank BenRiach for providing me with a sample in exchange for my no-strings-attached, honest review.


Appearance: I poured this Scotch into my Glencairn glass to sip neat. Inside, the brilliant gold liquid formed a medium-thin rim and a curtain of tears.


Nose: When I brought the glass under my nostrils and inhaled, I encountered thick butterscotch with apples, pears, and malt. Drawing the air into my mouth exposed pears.


Palate: Malting Season’s texture was thin and oily, and the palate exploded with flavors. The front consisted of tangerines, dried apricots, and plums. The middle tasted of vanilla, honey, and raw almonds. The back featured fresh-cracked black pepper, peaches, and oak.


Finish: The long-lasting finish lasted several minutes with peaches, oak tannins, black pepper, clove, and a soft whisper of smoke.


Bottle, Bar, or Bust: One of the things Dr. Barrie does extraordinarily well is blending barrels of whiskey. You’d expect that from a master blender, but she’s consistently talented. Malting Season Third Edition doesn’t disappoint. For fun, I paired it against the Second Edition, of which I had a small amount remaining.


The two had some similarities regarding notes of peaches, apricots, apples, and honey. But Third Edition’s addition of tangerines boosted this whisky over its predecessor. Third Edition is delicious, properly proofed, and worth the investment, and it earns my Bottle rating. Cheers!


My Simple, Easy-to-Understand Rating System

  • Bottle = Buy It
  • Bar = Try It
  • Bust = Leave It


Whiskeyfellow encourages you to enjoy your whiskey as you see fit but begs you to do so responsibly.