As you know Speyside is not my favorite whisky region. I do have some Malts from that region, which i like (Cragganmore which is spicy and bold , Glenfarclas which i adore for example) , But usually i associate Speyside with lighter un-peated malts, more flowery flavors and delicate aromas.
The Benromach 10 was my first dram from this lovely distillery who maintains a very active twitter account (@Benromach ). I first heard very good feedbacks about this malt from my good friend Josh Hatton, Who raved about this one time and time again. Most of the times, we have a similar taste in malts, so any recommendation he makes, goes straight into my “to taste” list (which is getting longer and longer every day 🙂 ). However, I’ve had the pleasure of tasting that malt only last week, after receiving a sample in a mini bottle.
Benromach, so i am told, is the smallest distillery now operating in Speyside, and is one of the smallest distilleries in Scotland. The distillery has quite of history, as it was founded in 1898, under a different name, and was renamed Benromach in 1919. In 1983 the distillery was mothballed by its owners, and was bought by Gordon & Macphail in 1993. Under the G&M management, renovations were made and after 5 years in 1998, the distillery began working and producing new spirit again.
The Benromach 10 is was produced entirely by the new G&M owners, and then matured in Bourbon and Sherry casks (80% / 20%) , later to be “Married” (a term used to describe mixing and aging two different cask whiskies to blend and to co-interact with each other in a different casks than the original). After the ‘Marriage’ , the spirit spend an additional year in sherry casks, to achieve a more harmonious profile.
One very interesting fact about the Benromach 10, is that it’s heavily peated (OK, not by Islay standards, but for a Speyside…) . You never think of Speyside whiskies as peated ones, and this approach is very refreshing. The folks at Benromach do claim that in the olden times, Speyside whiskies were much peatier than we’re used to them today. It was customary to use more peat, and the Benromach 10 is a step back in time in that respect. interesting.
now to the actual notes:
Benromach, 10 year old, 43%
Nose: When i first smelled it i was very surprised by the smokiness and earthy peatiness. I was expecting some peat but not at those levels (Speyside after all!!) Some leafy aromas are also detected, and a hint of dried fruit, but subtle. All in all, a great nose.
Palate : Hide and seek of vanilla / malty sweetness. As it develops the smoky peatiness described in the nose is coming through. Earthy smoke, but not quite aggressive as Islay peated malts tend to be. Nice interplay.
Finish : Medium length finish, dominated by the vanilla and smoky notes which in time turns into distant smoke hints.
To sum up:
this is a very nice malt which caught me by complete surprise with its peaty notes, and smoky nature. Great balance of the other flavours with the smoke, and rich body. Pricing is also very competitive (around £30 / $50 ). A great deal. After my sample is all gone, it’s very high on my shopping list for the coming months.
Way to go Benromach.