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I'm writing this review hot on the trails of my latest love affair from the same distillery - The Benromach 10 100 Proof. However, it was this standard 10 Year old bottling responsible for us meeting. And for that I owe it a debt of gratitude.
I am, like many other whisky enthusiasts, a fan of Ralfy and his modest yet honest ways. So when he announced this single malt as his whisky of the year I was naturally quite curious.
Benromach has had a history of closures and re-openings, however, it's greatest fortune has come at the hands of legendary independent bottlers Gordon & MacPhail. Having acquired the distillery in 1993 (10 years after it closed down) they fulfilled a lifelong dream of owning and running their very own. And it was finally in 2004 that they bottled their first whisky.
However, what I truly love about them is that they have decided to go back to Speyside roots and re-create the classic flavors of the 60s. Using stock acquired from Diageo as a benchmark they set about re-creating a lightly peated (12ppm) spirit reminiscent of the old days.
And I have to admit this is turning out to be quite a stellar comeback. Steeped in traditionalism the distillery is run by just three people and the only computer in the distillery is used to check emails. Which means that the process and the end product is truly a reflection of skill and the perfection of this art.
This is a smart blend of 80% bourbon and 20% sherry hogshead married together for it's final year in first-fill Oloroso casks thus completing it's 10 year journey.
My sample is from a brand new bottle with a strength of 43% and has been bottled on 07.08.2014
Nose: Mild peat. Honeysuckle. Fruit wax. Quite earthy. Vanilla. Dark chocolate. Faint spices - maybe ginger. Hint of oak. Green peas. Tobacco leaf. Dried green tea. Touch of nuts. This is wonderfully balanced with no off notes.
Palate: The delivery is quite thin without being weak. Silky is more like it. Ginger. Honey. Quite sweet with a touch of spice. Vanilla. Tobacco. Chocolate. Nuts. Roasted dark caramel. Wisp of smoke. Nice and balanced bordering on easy drinking. Very approachable.
Finish: Medium. Tobacco. Oak. Bitter chocolate.
This is a fantastic little whisky which ticks a lot of the right boxes. I really like this style of Speyside. I hope other established Speysiders can take a leaf from Benromach's book and try and re-create the magic.