One of the great revelations of 2014 was discovering Benromach 10 year old. It was such a lovely surprise that It forced my hand to include it at the best whiskies of 2014 in my year review.
When G&M and Benromach announced they plan to release a 100 proof (57% vs the standard 40%) I was anticipating a cracker. I mean, come on, take a good whisky and turbo charge it – how bad can it be?
Nose: At first nosing it’s very different from the normal 10yo as the nose is very restrained. The high ABV is felt but the lovely plethora of notes that welcomed me with the std 10yo were hard to get here. it felt sherried but restrained, and after a while some chocolate, sweet dried fruits rise, but it stayed restrained so water were needed here. With water it opens up a bit revealing more light sherry and a bit of chocolate. The nose is not as balanced and is less sherried than the normal 10yo.
Palate: Sweet, lightly sherried with dried fruits leaning toward sour berries, cinnamon and nutmeg. With water: sour berries, nutmeg, oak and a dash of pepper.
Finish: Long with butter, sour berries and oak.
Thoughts: I know many bloggers find this as a better whisky than the 10yo but I’ll go against the flow and say it was a huge disappointment. It wasn’t balanced, It didn’t meet my expectations and didn’t even stand up to the standard 10 year old. I purchased the sample of a reputable European store so it either a different (and bad) batch from the one UK bloggers tasted or it’s my taste that differs. I even tried it 2 weeks apart, letting the sample oxidize a bit in the bottle, hoping it will open up but to no avail. Frankly, based on what I tasted, I’d take the standard 10 over this one. That is , until I taste it again from a different bottle and so I’d recommend you: taste before you buy (always a good advise, not just for this bottle)!