Evening folks! Last week I took part in my first tweet tasting of 2019. A familiar distillery who, in my humble opinion, produce some quality, no-nonsense, typical 'Speysidian' whiskies that are excellent value for money.
I've tried their 10 year old and 15 year old expressions before, but I was very much looking forward to trying the 100° proof.
As well as being a fantastic way of trying new whiskies, Steve's tweet tastings also offer interesting pieces of info about the distilleries themselves. We learned that after being bought by Gordon MacPhail in 1993, the Benromach Distillery was restored and reopened in 1998. Benromach insist on only using the highest quality first fill casks, from a variety of different sources. They use locally grown barley which is malted with a little peat smoke. This peat smoke is more evident in some expressions than others, but is never particularly overpowering. As such, I wouldn't dissuade someone who doesn't like peaty whiskies trying Benromach (Dad - I'm looking your way here!)
My tasting notes and some further information imparted by Steve on the night follow:
Benromach - 10 year old - 43% abv - £34.96
"Benromach 10 Years Old: Produced using a combination of 80% Bourbon barrels and 20% Sherry hogsheads. Final year spent in first fill Oloroso casks."
Nose: You get a touch of salinity and malty hob nob biscuits, mingled with sherried sweetness and a very faint suggestion of dry woodsmoke. It's a good solid nose.
Palate: Quite zesty initially, with fresh ginger and more smoke than the nose suggested. Sweetness in the form of peanut brittle. Also a very very faint rubbery/sulphery note which isn't unpleasant.
Finish: Drying, tart finish with more salinity at the end. Was actually hoping for a little more sweetness to come through.
Benromach - 100° proof - 10 years old - 57% abv - £49.84
"100° Proof, is named after the old Imperial measure which followed a tradition established when skeptical sailors, who wanted to ensure their rum rations had not been watered down, mixed spirit with gunpowder. If the mixture ignited, its strength was “proved”.As with the standard Benromach 10 Years Old bottling, 100° Proof is produced using the same combination of 80% Bourbon barrels and 20% Sherry hogsheads."
Nose: Fresh toasted coconut & pineapple but then richer sherry notes like plump raisins and something akin to a dark navy rum. Time in the glass allows it to soften giving rise to stewed pears & chocolate. No real hint of the smoke that was evident previously. Couple of people mentioned kirsch and cherry which I can get.
Palate: A gentle sip given the strength leads to a warm rich leathery flavour with buttery rum raisin notes.I only added a little water as I don't feel it needs much, but it opens the dram up to give toffee sweetness, a touch of peat smoke and some of the hob nob quality that the 10 year old had.
Finish: Bit more smoke on the finish, with dark chocolate & cherry notes lingering. This is lovely, and has the sweetness I'd been hoping for in the 10 year old.
Benromach - 15 year old - 43% abv - £51.83
"As with the 10 Years Old, the @Benromach 15 Years Old is matured with both bourbon barrels and sherry casks, with the sherry being the more dominant part."
Nose: Butterscotch and orange oil initially… then the same malty hob nobs as the previous two, with the dark fruit notes being richer and deeper. A subtle herby quality too… like parsley? Cola cubes were mentioned, as was mint. It's quite a complex nose.
Palate: This is a more refined, sweeter and richer version of the 10 yo. It has a subtle smokiness, salinity and citrusy quality of the 10, but with juicy prunes, sticky figs and moist tobacco notes giving it that opulent feel.
Finish: Sweet, nutty, pastry notes linger… like a piece of freshly made baklava.
I loved the 100 proof which was a clear favourite for me on the night. The 15 year old is dangerously moreish and came a close 2nd! The 10 year old, whilst pleasant, came in a distant third in comparison. This was a very enjoyable 150th tasting and my thanks go to Steve and Benromach for the opportunity.