After a very acceptable score yesterday, to my standards at least, we went in for a non-Highland whisky. Not much of an introduction, since we go in blind…
I got quite a lot of peat on the nose, but not Islay peat. More in a Highland style (remember that non-Highland thingy?). There’s some grass, dirt and clay too. Rather sharp with only a little bit of oak towards the end.
The palate is very sharp and dry, and fresh barley ears. Oak too. There’s peat too, but I’m not getting smoke. It’s more the intensity of dry peat than smoke.
The finish is a bit lighter than the palate and the nose were, and slightly younger. More green, and focused on the barley with slightly less oaky notes. A tad grassy too.
I started thinking about peated Speyside whiskies early on. It couldn’t be a Highland one since the same region is never back to back in the competition. It wasn’t a Campbeltown, Islay or other Island whisky from my point of view. Islay is far more salty, Campbeltown is more funky or dirty. The other Island whiskies would be Jura, Arran, Talisker or Highland Park. They all make some peated whisky but it didn’t fit: Talisker is more peppery, Arran is more tannic, Jura is more Jura and it wasn’t complex enough for a Highland Park. Speyside it is.
Shame on me, but the only Speyside distillery that makes significant peated whisky that I could come up with was BenRiach, so I picked their peated cask strength. It turns out I was in the right region, and since the one I guessed is a NAS whisky, I just put in 10 years, which netted me another 30 points. Good for me.
Now, did I like the whisky? Not so much, to be honest. It’s not very complex and even though it’s not a middle of the road dram, it didn’t really grab my attention. It’s very sharp and young, and it kind of hides behind that. When it turned out to be a Benromach I wasn’t too surprised since it often is my conclusion with the single cask, young, bourbon cask matured ones. Their distillery only whiskies don’t do it for me either. Quite a shame, since their regular 10 year old and 10 year old 100 proof are among the most awesome drams out there.
Benromach 2008-2017, 9yo, Cask 347, 59.5%, OB for Whiskysite.nl. Available from Whiskysite.nl for 65 euros.