When I was at the distillery in November last year, there was a bourbon cask available for hand filling. This is not that cask. This is the (comparable) cask available at the distillery at the beginning of 2015.
The handfilled Benromachs are, as far as I know, always bourbon casks of a fairly young age. They know people are willing to spend when at a distillery since they get away with asking £ 60 for a bottle. And for that money you also have to bottle it yourself.
Still, when I’m at a distillery, things have to be very odd indeed for me to not pick up the handfilled that’s available. The main reason, obviously, is having tasted it and not liking it. Or having spent too much already.
So, an eight year old Benromach from a bourbon cask. That means it’s distillate from under the G&M management. Let’s see how this one fares with their principles of old style distilling!
It’s really sharp, but that’s not surprising at almost 62%. Light tones of oak and vanilla. It’s quite green too. Mossy trees, green barley, that kind of stuff. Earthy with barley and a light hint of spices. It does need some time to open up but when it does it becomes a bit better balanced and a bit more rich. Pear peels and star apple.
The palate is where this whisky drops the ball. Because of it being so young and so high in its alcohol, there’s not much else to discover. It’s very light and dry and sharp. Vanilla, oak, vanilla and pepper.
The finish is also very light with lots of vanilla again. Slightly flat and not very long.
As you might have guessed, I’m not a huge fan of this one. From my point of view, when making such a single cask available, it should represent what you’re trying to achieve with the distillery and the plan behind your production regimen. I don’t think they’ve done that here.
The whisky is ridiculously sharp, hot and dry because of the alcohol. This is not necessarily a problem, but if you only let it mature for eight years, those alcohols can’t lose their rough edges yet. I think this could have been something if they let it sit in a cask for a couple of years more. Like, til it was 15 years old or so.
Benromach 12/06/2006 – 19/02/2015, Bourbon cask, 61.8%. Handfilled at the distillery in 2006. While this is sold out, handfills at Benromach go for £ 60