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When my brother offered to bring back some stuff from England on a stopover, I took the opportunity to check out the online shops in order to see if I could land one of my modern Holy Grail whiskies, Benromach 100/10. I settled on Master of Malt because it was considerably less expensive with shipping charges. Because he and his wife could each bring back just over a litre, I had to see if I could find some minis or samples (I got some “drinks by the dram”) to make the most of his generosity. They happened to have this in a 200 cc size (official bottling, not MoM sample). I have a bottle of this that I found at the LCBO but I haven’t opened it yet and 200 cc is the perfect size for a small tasting or to give as a gift.
This bottle was opened on May 22, 2016, at the Ontario summit. Even so, it was about 70% full when I gassed it and it has stayed closed since then as far as I am aware. According to the label it is not chill-filtered. The etched batch marking on the bottle is L02 03 15 // 7 08:17 BB
This expression is reviewed in my usual manner, allowing it to settle after which I take my nosing and tasting notes, followed by the addition of a few drops of water, waiting, then nosing and tasting.
I rarely comment on colour of whisky but this one is so refreshingly pale I can’t help but assume that no caramel has been added.
Neat – Dry peat, some rubber. I asked my daughter to sniff it and tell me what she smelled like a sandy beach with “stuff” (by which she meant seashells and stuff). My son could not specify but said it smelled “strong” and made his nose feel tingly. Slightly over-toasted rye bread crust. Wet (but clean) Elastoplast woven bandages. I think I get a hint of Port Ellen (yeah right). 21/25
With water – No significant difference in the nose… maybe a hint of lemon.(21/25)
Neat – Slightly thin mouthfeel. I would have expected it to be oilier given the nose. Sweet, some chocolate, then hit with peat on the development. Not very complex, but quite smooth (neutral descriptive comment, not an endorsement) and pleasant. 22/25
With water – feels a little richer on the tongue, the peat hits the palate just a little sooner on the arrival and the chocolate is very prominent. More menthol(23/25)
Finish: A light sour note. The flavour of the finish is medium to short, but then my tongue feels like an ash tray. 21/25 With water, the ashtray is cleaner and a little menthol on the finish. (22/25)
Balance: Excellent balance between the nose and the palate. A little thin, but a pleasant dram. 21/25
This one, sipped after Trader Joe's milk Chocolate, imparts a hint of coffee. It seems to work.
Score: Neat - 85/100 With Water- 87/100
I like this, a little more with water than without. I admit though, that this is probably suited to a cooler season of the year.
I’m glad I have had a chance to try it, because something tells me this is likely as close to tasting Port Ellen as I will ever get…