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To those of a similar vintage to me you may remember the character Man-E-faces from He Man. This whisky makes me think of him as it is such a changeable one and is so hard to pin down. Like @wierdo with the Springbank CS 12, I've gone through nearly half a bottle and it's hard feel you ever have a true picture of what it's all about. His acceptance to simply let go and enjoy prompted a similar response in myself and so thought I'd just do the review as i find it today.
Bottles been open a month with just over half left. Notes here are neat with about twenty minutes in the glass.
Nose: dusty funk, leather, tobacco, (signature Benromach notes) sherry, red fruits fresh and dry, summer berries, dirty vanilla, savoury herbs like a bouquet garni with some mint, muddied spices - cinnamon, ginger, damp earth. Musty overtones. Softened and rounded peat but still quite a hefty nip of it given the age - sweet and dry liquorice; oh so complex. It changes lots in the glass and with time and, honestly, I could write a very long list here. Pretty amazing but it takes effort.
Taste: Arrives all sweet and sour and then the fresh and dry fruit starts to unwind. It's thick and rich and there's gingery, subdued peat as it develops. Some charred vanilla and tart spice notes. Mocha latte. Almost a cider vinegar thing towards the finish. Very complex again. I must be sat in Grandad's old leather arm chair as it feels like the whole whisky from start to finish has been strained through it. As complex on the palette as the nose.
Finish: Longish, more musty earth, ginger comes out more at the end along with a tartness. Some tannins and remnants of the sweet berries and fresh fruit syrup.
I like this better without water and it doesn't take much, imo. A few drops brings out more fresh fruit and spice but it loses some of that leathery funk that I really like.
This is a wonderful whisky and ticks all the boxes for me. To say it's the 10's older sibling is simplifying matters but not far off the truth. Those extra 5 years in sherry casks (oloroso) have really given it time to develop and let the flavours marry together. Not an 'easy access' malt by any means but for fans of the style I think you'll be very impressed.