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Benromach 10 Year Old 100 Proof

Two More Benromachs - Part I

3 1494

@talexanderReview by @talexander

23rd Apr 2017

1

  • Nose
    23
  • Taste
    24
  • Finish
    23
  • Balance
    24
  • Overall
    94

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Distribution of ratings for this: brand user

Since I did some Macallans yesterday, and a BenRiach earlier today, I thought I'd search out some more Speysiders and found a few Benromachs. I reviewed the standard 10 year old before (which I have a bit left of), but I have two higher strength ones (both also 10 years old) to examine. First is the Benromach 100 Proof, whose ABV goes by the definition of British proof (57%) rather than the US definition (50%). Thank you to Richard Culver for this sample.

The colour is a medium-dark gold. Very complex on the nose, with big caramel and vanilla with bright herbal peat woven throughout. Baked apples, cloves, cinnamon and dark chocolate. Buttery oak. Sultana raisins. Sweet cereal notes. Minty, but not overwhelmingly so. A drop of water makes it even more herbal and peaty. The interplay between peat, malt and wood is perfectly harmonious.

Those notes carry through on the palate, with the addition of chili spice, orange pith and blackberry. The thick mouthfeel carries that peppery peat smoke through with dark caramel. Surprisingly salty, but in a good way. Water brings every element up a notch - fascinating. Constantly developing in complexity, with each note layering over the other.

The finish is very oaky, with spice, bovril and creamy milk chocolate. I've had this dram before, and I think it could be the best Benromach I have ever had - the perfect combination of the sweet, fruity Speyside style with old-fashioned peat smoke. Add in the thick, creamy mouthfeel and you have a whisky that seems to harken back to bygone times. Almost three years ago, I gave the standard Benromach 10 an 84; tasting them now side-by-side, the difference is huge. The standard is very nice and approachable, with a nice kick in the spice and peat, but the 100 Proof just completely overtakes it. Amazing.

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14 comments

@Nozinan
Nozinan commented

I'm glad you liked this one. I was really looking forward to it when I finally landed some in the UK. At well < $100 per bottle, but $117 will get you one of the few remaining at the LCBO if you want one.

My first bottle is empty and I'll wait a while before opening another, but I'm reassured by looking at my review and finding that I tasted some similar things to you. Not surprising, as we tasted from the same bottle.

Cheers!

2 years ago 0

@casualtorture
casualtorture commented

So how do you calculate proofs in British? US we just divide the proof by 2 to get abv. 100 proof is 57%? how does the math work?

2 years ago 0

@talexander
talexander commented

@casualtorture Somebody else on the site might know better than me, but I think it comes from the idea that, to prove that the whisky (or actually rum at the time) wasn't diluted by the officers who were giving rations to the British sailors, they would ignite it with gunpowder and if it flared up (ie. was at least 57% ABV) that was "proof" that it was undiluted (ie. the sailors weren't getting ripped off). If anyone has a better explanation, please share!

2 years ago 2Who liked this?

@casualtorture
casualtorture commented

@paddockjudge very interesting. i love knowing the history behind everything. I wonder why they changed it?

2 years ago 0

@Pete1969
Pete1969 commented

@casualtorture the UK still uses Navy proof as a term for the 57% ABV and @talexander is spot on with his explanation. Pussers sell a rum at that 54.5%ABV referred to as Gunpowder proof and Woods 100 Navy rum is readily available in U.K., both claim a long history of same recipe and blended from different Distillers Pussers is West Indies and Woods Guyana. Neither have a lot of age to them but they deliver plenty of flavour I find a lot of liquorice especially on the Woods with usual sweetness associated with rum.

Anywhere around the 55% ABV hits the mark with the gunpowder test but 57 is the magic number for the British Navy Ration as it is "100 per cent proof" the rum is not diluted. The rum ration was removed in the 1970's by the Navy but the terminology is still popular.

2 years ago 1Who liked this?

@Victor
Victor commented

Do you all really think that the British navy worried about maintaining the quality of the spirits they gave their sailors because they gave a damn about the sailors? That makes no sense whatsoever. 57 % ABV plus a fraction was the alcoholic strength at which the British Navy could be certain that potential spillage and contamination of the spirits onto the gunpowder of their naval cannon would not endanger the ignition of the powder. Pure military expedient. That spirit would likely have been at 40% abv, 30% abv, or lower, if they could have gotten away with it.

What could be more logical (not) than defining the standard for strength of your spirits by what it takes to ignite 18th century naval gunpowder???

2 years ago 1Who liked this?

@talexander
talexander commented

@Victor Good point - then again, watered down rum could have caused a mutiny the likes of which Captain Bligh could only imagine!!

2 years ago 3Who liked this?

@Pete1969
Pete1969 commented

@Victor that is a good point but the Royal Navy started diluting the rum around 1740 when it became known as Grog, the norm being two parts water to one rum with citrus juice added to prevent scurvy, at which point the spillage would effect the powder. The Royal Navy was renowned for its prowess at sea no doubt because even in the highest seas they were all so drunk they felt like they walked in straight lines on a pitching deck, the daily ration originally being half a pint of neat rum.

2 years ago 2Who liked this?

@paddockjudge
paddockjudge commented

@casualtorture, it was changed to allow for ease and accuracy when calculating proof/degrees. It is referred to as the "American method"...I think the Navy Proof is way cooler!

2 years ago 1Who liked this?

@Ol_Jas
Ol_Jas commented

Granted, I've only just skimmed the Wikipedia article, but I don't see the point of "proof" to begin with.

OK, I'll buy the fun gunpowder story. But what's the point of the American system where you just double the ABV to express that same idea in a different unit? I don't double my car's speed to put it in an alternative measure. I don't double my age. I don't double my number of children. (Except on my tax forms—shhhh!)

2 years ago 2Who liked this?

@Victor
Victor commented

"Proof" is industry jargon, and an unnecessarily redundant parallel system of measurement.

That said, why did the US develop the 'proof' standard it has? Probably for two reasons, both of which serve the industry and not the general public, per se: 1) historically 50% ABV was the Bottled in Bond standard for US 'full strength' straight bourbon and rye whiskeys. "100 proof" became a measure of full (100%) strength against that measuring stick, and 2) some of the US whiskey industrial standards use the 1/2% abv increment, e.g. straight bourbon and rye must be barreled at no more than 125 proof/62.5% ABV. 1/2 of 1% gradations served the industry guys.

2 years ago 2Who liked this?

@Ol_Jas
Ol_Jas commented

@Victor , those sound like some good guesses.

I will further speculate that the jargon caught on because it sounds cool. It's way more fun and showy to say you got "a bottle of 90 proof" than you got "a bottle at 45% ABV."

2 years ago 1Who liked this?

@casualtorture
casualtorture commented

@Ol_Jas Yep, I've never heard a southern rock or hip hop artist brag about is 50% jug of moonshine. But to quote Yelawolf,

'Motormouth, make a wave, yeah, Roll Tide You're playin' golf in lightning? So am I Dressed in a tin man suit Drinkin' a tin can too, that is 110 proof.'

It is cooler.

2 years ago 1Who liked this?

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