Glenfarclas is one of the last family owned distilleries. It has been owned (in some shape or form) by the Grant family since 1865. That’s some real history right there. The distillery was built in 1836. As a family owned distillery, Glenfarclas has a degree of freedom that very few distilleries enjoy. Lack of short sighted pressures from investors has resulted in a good number of older casks. Some of which have been bottled as part of the Family Casks releases. Glenfarclas was also the distillery which began the single cask adventures of Phillip “Pip” Hills that eventually led to the creation of the Scotch Malt Whisky Society.
Age: 17 Years Old
Price: ~£90 (£63.95 from Royal Mile Whiskies)
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.
The Benromach 10 was the whisky that led me to the rabbit hole of whiskyland. AliceInWhiskyland bought me a bottle for my birthday and it’s been a best friend ever since. It’s actually the 3rd whisky I’ve ever tried and the expression that I have bought more than any other. So it definitely has a place in my heart and cupboard.
Expression: 10 years old
Price: ~£35 (£34.63 from Master of Malt)
Note: This is an older batch of the Benromach 10 from when they came in copper coloured tins. Newer batches seem to have a slightly different profile that is a bit peatier.
According to Benromach, the 10 year old is comprised of only first fill sherry and bourbon casks. Benromach make peated and unpeated whisky and I believe they mix the two to make expressions like these since their peaty whiskies are relatively high ppm’s of about 50-60. This expression is quite peaty for a speyside but definitely no where near the Benromach Peat Smoke expression.