BenRiach Curiositas 10 Year
Peated Single Malt — Speyside, Scotland
Reviewed March 10, 2020
10 years is a peak age for many peated whiskies. It's no coincidence that Laphroaig and Ardbeg age their introductory expressions for a decade, and that Bruichladdich's Port Charlotte line features a 10-year-old version. Peat in the single digits often manifests as overly harsh and ash-y, or medicinal and weird as hell (sometimes even producing hot garbage notes, which I truly but bizarrely enjoy). Highland peat and Islay peat are a little different, as expressions like the Balvenie Peat Week prove, but this bottle demonstrates that the decade mark is still a near-perfect time to bottle a peated whisky. Its signature is balance: smoky, earthy tones countered by beer-like malt and apple sweetness. It is not incredibly complex, but it is a simple, lovely pleasure of a whisky. It's an easy drinker and a great candidate for a daily nightcap whisky (alongside drams like Talisker 10, or Gledronach 12 for sweet-tooths). It's also reasonably priced in the $50-60 range, which makes it a realistic contender for that session dram role.