I’ve got a bit of a soft spot for Benromach. And, in this case, I can genuinely say that’s because their flavor profile suits me to a tee.
I hadn’t been there before the revamped launch of Gordon & MacPhail’s 10 year old, about a decade or so ago. Before that I didn’t even really enjoy the brand’s whiskies. But ever since that one, almost everything from their warehouses is awesome.
Of course, there’s the odd Sassicaia cask that I don’t care about, but their spirit is amazing and works quite well in both sherry and bourbon casks. At a variety of ages, to boot.
This cask strength bottling from little under two years ago was part of De Whiskykoning’s Summer Tasting, mostly because it is technically located in Speyside. Based on flavor I do think this is more in line with the heavier and more funky Highland or even Campbeltown whiskies.
The typical ‘old’ style of Benromach with all it’s funky glory. Hessian, dry leather, earthy and a hint of ‘moldy attic’. Doesn’t sound good but people who know Benromach know what I mean and tend to love it. There are hints of vanilla and dried apple too. Quite some oak, for an eleven year old whisky, with hints of dunnage warehouses, milk chocolate and puffed rice.
The palate is bone dry, which isn’t too surprising with the brand, with a lot of pepper and barley. Hessian, leather, oak, dry soil and old wood. Vanilla and a trace of peat, cherries and cherry stones, as well as apricot and dried apple. Slightly bitter tea later on.
The finish is in line with the nose and palate, but loses some of its dry bite. Nicely sweet with a surprising touch of honey and baked apple. Cherry and apricot with hints of hessian and leather in the background.
This does everything you want a cask strength Benromach to do. It brings layers of flavor, some heat but not too much, and dares to choose its own route. It very much feels like this is a ‘no concessions’ dram.
And, for the € 60-odd it sets you back, I strongly doubt you can do better if this flavor profile is in your wheel house. It definitely is in mine. The layers of funky hessian and leather, backed up by both fruity and grainy flavors just works.