When the guys read my rather enthusiastic review of their Benromach 10 year old, they apparently were kind of thrilled. I got an email asking whether or not I would like to receive a sample of their 1976 vintage for review.
Since the Dutch are generally as cheap as the Scottish (Scottish cheapness is something they informed me about, so no offense…) I said yes. Not just because I’m cheap, but also because I’m curious and the reviews of the 1976 are universally good, as far as I’ve seen.
Last week the sample arrived and over the weekend I had a wee sip of it.
Since it’s a vintage release, no special occasion or anything, there’s not much to say about the whisky. Let’s just dive in!
It’s not too heavy, but it is very old fashioned. This is how you’d imagine an old whisky has to smell. Slightly spicy with some dried fruits. Old, cracked leather armchairs. There’s an ever so gentle bitter note like in dark chocolate. Dried thyme twigs and dry barley. A tiny hint of minerals and slate, a hint of cinnamon and dried apple. Some wood smoke, like a doused campfire.
Barley and oak at first, with a whiff of smoke and pepper. It does have more bite than I expected. Dried coconut. Dried dates, some raisins. Muesli! A hint of bitter, dark chocolate again with a hint of its greasiness without being creamy.
The finish is very old fashioned again, with oak and barley at first. A light hint of sherry after that. Fruit, with that dried coconut again. Some wood smoke too.
While I won’t start screaming ‘epic dram’ right away, this is a dram that I find highly fascinating. It ticks all my boxes and is just plain delicious. It has all the flavors of the 10 year old, but all of them are slightly more timid. It’s an absolutely gorgeous dram that I would find myself sipping in front of a fireplace, with a good book, my slippered feet on a bearskin, that kind of setting.
The dried coconut is something you don’t encounter every day, but since I love that stuff it only adds to how much I like this one.
So, in short: Yes, it’s a great whisky. Very, very good indeed. The only drawback is that it’s very expensive. Currently it goes for about € 600 in England…
Benromach 1976-2012, 46%, available at The Whisky Exchange for £ 485 / € 610
Thanks to Kirsty at Benromach/Gordon & Macphail for sending the sample!