When typing Benromach I always have to correct it once, because I type BenRomach, like it’s another Speyside distillery some miles south of Forres.
Anyway, I never had Benromach on my radar, until they released their previous version of the 10 year old. The one with the dark blue label. That really put them on the map again.
After that they have kept up the good work with quite some really good releases. As with every distillery, there are some expression that you don’t care about, like the Sassicaia cask.
It’s a bit of an easy target, these wine casks, but I generally like them less than bourbon and sherry cask matured whiskies.
Strangely, with Benromach there are also the distillery only casks, and private bottlings that are generally some 8 or 9 years old, quite harsh and strong and bourbon matured. These aren’t for me either, strangely.
After all that negativity, there should be some positive note too: The regular 10, the 100 Proof (or Cask Strength that they have now) and older releases, 15 year old and now this 21 year old, are stunning whiskies. And surprisingly affordable.
Of course, this 21 year old sets you back some € 140, but show me another official 21 year old bottling for that money. Let’s dive in!
It has the rich character you expect from Benromach, although the 43% holds it back a little bit. Very gentle, with quite some oak, some treacle, orange and peach. A whiff of smoke and a pastry cream note too.
The palate shows more black pepper than I expected. Quite some oaky dryness, with hessian and some smoke. Dried orange slices with a hint of dark chocolate. Baking spices, raisins. Some bitter almond note too.
The finish is a lot more fruity with dried fruit and sweet oranges. Hints of mandarin, wild peach. Slightly funky notes of hessian and tree bark. A rather long finish, with some smoke.
It’s been a long time since I had a modern 43% bottling that was this good. An absolutely gorgeous whisky that shows a lot of complexity with a wide variety of flavors. It has the typical funky notes of Benromach with some oak and fruit driven flavors to push it to a higher level.
I bottle-shared this, and therefore I have only 20 cl (I kept two samples…) but I can imagine that this bottle might make a reappearance on my shelf in the future.
Benromach 21, Sherry and Bourbon casks, released in 2020, 43%. Available for € 135/140 in The Netherlands