Well well well, this is a much anticipated release for us. Benromach is at the top of our list for distilleries. It was the whisky that really got us into whisky. We first fell in love with the original Benromach 10 year old. If you haven’t heard of Benromach, that’s probably because it is only starting to make its way around the world. Bought and rebuilt by Gordon and MacPhail in the 90’s, Benromach was running on a two man team for several years. Understandably their production was limited, but the quality of the spirit has gained followers and they are expanding. So you should see more Benromach on the shelves of your local whisky shops.
We got to try this little gem at the #Benromach35 tweet tasting hosted by The Whisky Wire. Hence the unconventional picture at the top. Like the 10 year old the 15 has been matured in both first fill ex-Bourbon and sherry casks with a heavier emphasis on the sherry casks. This is pretty extraordinary because maturing in only first fill casks is quite an expensive move and first fill casks impart more flavour to whisky so that maturations are typically shorter. You won’t find many official core bottlings from exclusively first fill casks that are this old. And if you do, you can expect to pay a premium.
One of the special things about Benromach is that it represents a sort of experiment for Gordon & MacPhail who are trying to bring back the old Speyside style of whisky. Although many of us think of Speyside whiskies as smooth and unpeated, this was not true back in the day when pretty much all distilleries peated their whiskies to some degree simply because of the cheapness of peat as a fuel source. Thus you’ll notice that the 15 year old and 10 year old both have a peaty bite. Well enough of this banter, on to the tasting notes!
Distillery: Benromach Distillery
Age: 15 Years Old
Cask: Ex-bourbon and Sherry first fill casks
Deep treacle, Taiwanese raw brown sugar, roasted sticky toffee pudding. Wisp of smoke like from a flaming pudding. Christmas cake with juicy raisins and nuts. Soda pop candies.
Old dark oak with treacle tarts, spicy pomander. Sweet and dry sherry mixed. Hint of carrot cake and dark chocolate. It’s drier than I expected in a refined way. Like an old dry oloroso sherry.
Old library oak with leather chairs and slice of Christmas cake.
What I really liked about this dram was how serious it felt. It has this austere, refinement that makes me think of old world England. It has loads of depth without being overly sweet or cloying. The balance is that of an old fashioned English butler, dignified and accommodating and questioning when the time is right. If I had to give it a name I would call it Alfred. This would be the perfect dram for sitting by a fire and contemplating intellectual or philosophical ideas.
Rich sherry notes. Sticky toffee pudding in berry jam. Floral perfume, touch of oak.
Minced pies, rich red wine followed by marzipan and burnt toast.
A step in complexity from the 10. Rich and balanced with a touch of peat.