Benromach 15 Year Old

Benromach_15yo

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

ABV: 43%

Price: £49.84

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New Benromach 15 Year Old Release

Benromach-15-year-old

For lovers of Benromach, today is a special day (It’s a special day for me). Benromach have just announced a new core release, the Benromach 15 year old. While the name and location of Benromach Distillery have remained the same since 1898, the stills and other equipment were lost after the closure in 1983. The independent bottler, Gordon & MacPhail, purchased the site, stocks, and rights to the name in 1992 and installed new stills and equipment. The new stills are smaller than the previous ones and the general whisky making process also differs from pre-1983 Benromach. In October of 1998, the new Benromach Distillery was finally opened and distillation of the new spirit began.

Why does all of this matter? It matters because the Benromach 15 year old is the oldest officially bottled expression of the current Benromach Distillery! While you can find older Benromach whisky, it is all from the previous incarnation. If you’ve ever tried the older stuff, you’ll probably know that the whiskies are quite different.

As a big fan of the Benromach 10 and Benromach 10 100 proof, I am definitely looking forward to this release. According to the Benromach website, the expression is comprised of ex-bourbon and ex-sherry casks and bottled at 43%. During a Christmas promotion last year (2014), they had some information on their site saying that they only used first fill casks. If this is the case with the Benromach 15, it should be quite interesting since first fill casks tend to impart much stronger flavours and even at 10 years can be quite robust.

Information Sources:

Malt Madness