This gem of a whisky is a from an interesting little Speyside distillery. It was taken over some time ago by Gordon & MacPhail, the independent bottler and since then has been putting out some remarkable whisky. Most notably the 10 year old expression. This is a high ABV version of that 10 year old (there’s a bit of a debate as to whether or not we should consider it cask strength as it is diluted to a specific ABV, just a very high one, but that’s all just semantics), bottled at British 100 proof, so 57%ABV.
I first tried it as part of the 2015 Tapuz blind tasting competition, and it was my absolute favourite of that year’s lot. I stopped trying to guess what it was after a bit and just enjoyed the hell out of my sample. A friend very kindly brought a bottle over the seas for me and I enjoyed the hell out of that too.
Benromach is a peated malt, quite uncommon for a standard speyside expression, albeit quite lightly peated, and matured in a mix of bourbon and sherry casks. For the me the ratio is perfect and create a beautiful leathery note that I absolutely love.
I’ve posted below my blind notes as well as some notes I made from my bottle, quite interesting that I didn’t notice the sherry so much when I tried it blind, this happened to me with the Kilchoman Loch Gorm of this year’s competition as well, where I didn’t pick up the sherry.
Aged 10 years. 57%ABV. No colourant added and non-chill filtered.
Nose: Bourbon vanilla and toasted oak notes. Strong spirit bite. Spice. Malt. Cinnamon and nutmeg. With water rich malty and toffee notes develop.
Palate: Charred oak. Apples. Pears. Thick rich toffee and butterscotch. Acacia sap. With water the fruity notes get stronger, also a bit of leather.
Finish: Long. Sticky. Dry oak. Char. Toast
Notes from my bottle:
Nose: Leather. Burned matchead sherry notes. Raspberries. Wood smoke. Herbal grassy notes. Vanilla pods. Charred wood. Jammy notes. Some earthy peat. With water there’s more burned match heads and toffee on the nose.
Palate: Rich leather. Red fruits. Char. A nice puff of wood smoke that fills the whole mouth. Rich toffee. Peat becomes noticeable with some water. Also bring out some more juicy plum and red berry notes.
Finish: Long, sticky vanilla & toffee pudding. Fresh cut pine. Some Peat smoke. A bit of lemon bitters. A hint of salt with water.
Would I buy this: Yes
Would I order this in a bar: Yes
Would I drink this if someone gave me a glass: Yes
This stuff blew me away every time I drank it. Hugely complex and full of the flavours I really love, and at a young age with high ABV, really powerful delivery. It’s an absolute masterpiece of a whisky, and affordable to boot.