Sorry about dropping out for a while during Feis but life took over with extra work, other projects and serious read binge (The 5 books of The Demon Cycle. Not bad at all). But now it’s time to get back into the reviewing mode.
Although I owe you three reviews from Feis (Kilchoman, Bunnahabhain and Ardbeg), those will integrated into the schedule in the coming weeks and today I wanna focus on an interesting whisky – An official Benromach 12 Year Old in Cask strength bottled exclusively for Taiwan market.
It’s always fun to lay hands on a bottle destined for different markets as you get to try official bottles with different flavor profiles targeted at the target market preferences.
Benromach 12 Year Old Cask Strength 2017 Batch #1 (58.9%)
Nose: Chocolate-y, dirty with a touch of sulphur (but in a good way), peat and subtle smoke, strong dried fruit and biscuits. Continue reading
Today I review a young single cask Benromach (from 2008) that was bottled earlier this year for whiskysite.nl shop. 231 Bottles were bottled from cask 347 at 59.5% and a few of those entertained us on the 3rd day of the BTC 2017 competition.
I didn’t have much free time to tackle this dram so wrote some quick notes and went with a gut feeling guess of a young Caol Ila. I got points for age but nothing else. Maybe if I could sit down with this dram properly I could (and should) recall those 2008 Benromach that flooded the market last year.
Benromach 2008 for whiskysite.nl (59.5%, €64,99)
Nose: Rich and oily, lots of sweet malt and vanilla along with fairy big earthy peat note. And after a while there’s also a distinctive smoky note, honey, salt, some tropical fruits. Continue reading
The success story continues with another vintage release of Benromach Sassicaia, this time a 2009 vintage that more then doubled the bottles count (to 8000 from 3500) of the previous release in 2016, the Sassicaia 2007 which I reviewed before and liked.
The concept stays the same as you don’t mess with a successful and working recipe, first maturing in 1st fill bourbon casks and then finished for 28 months in Sassicaia wine casks from the region of Bolgheri in Tuscany. But it’s interesting to note that previous releases were 8-9 years old while this new Sassicaia 2009 is only 7-8 year old – It might more or less of the same age (8 year old), but we can’t tell from the information we have. Let’s check how the 2009 vintage fares comparing to the older releases.
Benromach Sassicaia 2009 (45%, £39.99/€49,95)
Nose: Initial notes: sweet wine and smoke but lets dig deeper: chimney smoke, rich like a pipe smoke, but it mostly dissipate leaving a gentle smoky backbone, maltiness lurks behind, red fruit and berries, feeling wine tannins but it ain’t dry as the wine is rich and powerful. With time there are spices: ginger and baking spices. Continue reading
Benromach keeps pumping out young wine finishes expressions and today we’ll review their latest such release, the Benromach Hermitage 2007.
It’s the forth Benromach Hermitage release. The previous one was released in 2015 and is a 2005 vintage whisky. This time around it’s the 2007 vintage that was bottled earlier in 2016 (9 years old give or take a few months). It has been initially matured in bourbon casks for 6 years, before being finished in casks which previously held wine from the Hermitage Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée for 31 months.
Interesting enough, the finish time here, 31 months, is much longer than the finish time used for the previous release which was finished for mere 18 months. Mind you, 13 months can make a lot of difference when it comes to active wine casks.
Benromach Hermitage 2007 (45%, £39.36/€54.99)
Nose: Sweet and with pungy edge which I can attribute to smoke, rich, full and creamy, sweet red wine, red fruit, nuttiness, fudge. After a long time getting soursweet red berries. It’s not a complex nose and the wine impact is very strong here. Continue reading
Benromach rose to fame in the last few years with the re-release of the Benromach 10 and the addition of the 10 yo 100 proof and 15 year old expressions to their line up. But in addition to those releases, there were also some young releases like the 5 yo and different wood finishes (all below the 10 year old barrier). The latest of those releases is the Benromach Sassicaia 2007 which follows the Sassicaia 2006 that was released a year ago, making it an annual release of some kind.
The Sassicaia 2007 was initially matured in First Fill bourbon barrels before a two years finish in Sassicaia wine casks from the region of Bolgheri in Tuscany.
Benromach Sassicaia 2007 (45%, £44.68/€54,47)
Nose: Youth notes at first, lots of cereals, sweetness from the wine is lurking at the background but then comes the distinct red fruit notes. Fresh berries and plums, light and sweet with sour edge, vanilla too. Oh, there’s some soapy perfume too after a while and additional fruitiness and muted spices that reminds me sherry influence. Continue reading
It’s not like we need an excuse to publish a review but hey, it’s Thursday and the weekend is in sight so why not use this paltry excuse to review the recently released Benromach 35 Year Old?
35 years is a lot of time and it means that it was distilled under the previous ownership around 1980 (or a tad earlier earlier), just a few years before the distillery was mothballed in 1983.
Since Benromach was revived by G&M at 1998, it means that an equivalent aged expression under GM& ownership (with different production methods, yeasts and barley variants), sometime around 2034, will be totally different animal. So how is this historic Benromach?
Benromach 35 Year Old (43%, £425/€650)
Nose: First impression: Glorious! Fresh and gentle sherried nose and it’s an impressive feat to have whisky matured in 1st fill sherry casks for such a long time and keep the freshness and not get over-sherried or over-oaked. What else is showing up here? Sugared oranges peels, leather and tobacco at the far end, a memory of smoke, over-sized cinnamon bun rolls. After a few minutes some spice is rising up, chips of nutmeg, a dash of pepper and oak wood spices, getting waxy and rounder with extra fruitiness to balance the sherry impact. Continue reading
I reviewed Benromach 10 Year old 100 Proof 6 months ago. I went against the majority of reviews out there and declared my big disappointment as I just couldn’t understand what’s all the fuss about and felt it was worse than the standard 10 yo. Best you go and read that review before resuming and reading the rest of this post…
OK. I assume you did your due diligence and read that post so let’s move on. A couple of months ago but well after the initial tasting and review, I tasted it again but this time I wasn’t aware it was the Benromach 10 100 proof as it was part of a blind tasting competition.
Take a look at my tasting notes I took during the blind tasting competition:
Dram #7 (Benromach 10 100 Proof 57%)
Nose: Light peat at first and then mostly sweetness, vanilla, malt!! Hint of honey, slight dried fruits, overall very restrained pointing at high ABV. After a while sweetness is stronger and there are some tannins and it becomes more Oloroso. A bit of cloves and nutmeg and light sweet peat at the background. With water: less sherry, much more honey but still with a nice dose of nutmeg. Feels young and fierce even after a few drops of water. Continue reading