Benromach Distillery Bottlings Tasting Notes

Posted: August 17, 2011 in Benromach

Benromach Traditonal 40%

Tasted: Sept 2008

Light, crisparomas of citrus, soft spice and a late oily note. It has a lovely underlying oiliness. Light on the palate, initially a bit floral. Nicely mouth filling with an oily body and extremely spicy too! There is a good depth of rich fruit and a slight touch of peat smoke on the finish. Relatively straightforward due to its youth but dangerously drinkable nevertheless!

Benromach Traditional 40%

80% First Fill Bourbon/ 20% First Fill Sherry

Re-Tasted: Apr 2013

A light, slightly gristy nose displaying plenty of lemon. Almost tartly citrus with hints of grass and an underlying honeyed depth. Hints of refill sherry add fatness and sweetness along with a sweet barley and subtle pepper note. With time the aromas become slightly oily.

Quite fresh if a little raw on the palate with lemon, a touch of honey, barley and grass. It thickens towards the middle with a little gristiness and full-ish barley. Lovely light refill sherry note appears on the finish. Still pleasantly fresh with a grassy after-taste.

 


Benromach Organic 43%

Tasted: Aug 2006

Big, deep and richaromas of luscious honied fruits, followed by tons of fresh oak and vanillins. Very, very weighty just like a good Bourbon with a late spice note drifting in. On the palate it is softer and more whisky like with the malty, honied fruit flavours leading the way, followed the vanillins. Very weighty with a lovely tangy spiciness to the fruit. The wood masks the innate youth of the spirit and makes this a very enjoyable dram. Lovely length with a softly tangy youthful finish.

Benromach Organic ‘Special Edition’ 43%

Tasted: Nov 2009

I wondered what was so special about this bottling. Then I put my nose in the glass and it all became apparent – Peat! – Lovely, dry, crumbly peat! There is not so much oak as in the first bottling and it has a delightful Caol Ila like freshness to it. With time it becomes quite fishy with iodine and rubbery notes emerging. However it is not one dimensional and there is a lovely strata of fruit beneath.

The palate mirrors the nose with some gentle peat, of the crumbly, fishy persuasion. The peat reek gathers pace but it is by no means a monster, but it finishes with serious intensity leaving a coal dust and wood tannins finish. Finally the slightly tropical fruit (banana and apricot) pushes its way through on the after taste. Superb stuff!

Benromach Organic ‘2012 Release’ (Special Edition) 43%

Btl: 2012/ Tasted: Aug 2012

An interesting nose. Quite herbal with some dry peat smoke and a slight TCP/ medicinal note. It seems the overt oakiness of previous bottlings is considerably lessened now those casks have been refilled a few times, which allows the dense but sugar sprinkled apricot, orange and barley notes to shine through. Lovely intensity and depth.

The palate opens with some sugar dusted barley and lovely dense fruit along with some gentle dry peat with a herbal edge. Like the nose the oak is quite delicate and the peat turns rather dusty but pleasantly sweet on the middle. Excellent length with a slightly salty finish. Still quite broad and full, a lovely dram.

Benromach Organic 2008 (6 year old) 43%

Dist: 2008 Btl: 2014/ Tasted: Nov 2014

The nose is very herbal, reminiscent of young rye. Joyously fruity with voluptuous aromas of tropical peach, apple, apricot and banana along with plenty of sweet barley and big, sweet, creamy oak. I would guess that some virgin American oak casks are working their way back in given the preponderance of oak notes. However the combination of the citrus and alcohol balances the sweetness.

The palate is full and toffee’d with lots of creamy vanilla. However the citrus slices through like a hot knife bringing the tropical fruit in its wake. Briefly it is quite sweet on the middle before the herbal rye-like notes rush in. Very long with the herbal notes lingering along with the banana, pineapple and oak.

Benromach Organic 2010 (5 year old) 43%

Virgin American Oak/ Dist: 2010 Btl: 2015/ Tasted: Jan 2017

Very obvious, grainy and vanilla’d oak up first with butter, toffee and hints of herbal barley. The oak is omnipresent and becomes very ‘Bourbony’. However the spirit character stands up to it quite well.

The palate actually opens with the herbal barley, dark berries and youthful taught spirit character before the rich and toasty oak arrives bringing with it a touch of gritty coffee’d tannins. Long with the herbal notes taking on a rye-like character and finishing with a touch of spice.


Benromach Peat Smoke Batch 1 46%

Tasted: Oct 2007

A light nose of grassy, citrus lemon fruits, herbs, late peat smoke, creosote, earthy dunnage floors, orange and a touch of oily/ creamy vanilla. Quiet complex for all its youth with a lovely soft balance.

Again light on the palate, maybe a touch watery initially, but the delicate oily citrus fruit evolves along with herbs, grass and light spice. There is less peat than the nose suggests, it is more in the background. Finishes dry and crisp with a touch of gentle late spice and lingering peat notes. A nice delicate Speysider with a touch of peat!

Benromach Peat Smoke Batch 2 43%

Tasted: Sept 2008

I was a bit fan of the first bottling of Peat Smoke, and the second batch definitely doesn’t disappoint. Crisp, clean and floral nose. It seems less overtly peaty than the first bottling, but that’s not to say that it is in anyway lacking in the peat smoke and coastal-rubber. It almost reminds me of a lightly peated Caol Ila with that fresh, garden fruit aroma.

It has a lovely sweet-ish entry and a lot more fruit than the nose would suggest and definitely lacking the slight watery-ness of the earlier bottling. There’s a lovely, gradual build up of gentle peat and coastal notes. The mid palate is intense and extremely packed with citrus and finishes with a leafy, bog myrtle hint. Again really leaves me thinking of Coal Ila!

Benromach Peat Smoke Batch 3 46%

Tasted: Nov 2010

Apparently the head hocho of Benromach thought that the Batch 2 was tooIslayin character, so they chose spirits with a lower peating level for this bottling……. And, well they’ve failed! It’s still quite coastal and phenolic with more than a passing reference to Caol Ila. It does seem a lot younger than the previous two bottlings with a touch of rose petal marc. However there is no shortage of crisp, briny fruit, orange, cereal and butterscotch oak. So quality wise they definitely haven’t failed!

The palate opens with the creamy fruit, cereal and barley before the brine and peat gets into gear. Definitely not a monster but the peat is the dominant theme and builds in a distinctly controlled manner. Just this side of wild and youthful (actually quite ferocious by Benromach’s normal sedate standards) with a lovely burst of pepper on the middle. Very long with a rock salt finish.

Benromach Peat Smoke Batch 4 46%

First Fill Bourbon – Peated to 53ppm/ Dist: 2004 Btl: 2011/ Tasted: Nov 2012

As per usual a very youthful nose with plenty of cereal and barley along with a touch of rose petal marc. Funnily enough it reminds me of some of the bottlings of the peated Penderyn. Slightly manurey, reasonably phenolic but not hugely peated. In fact the peat has a distinct sooty character. It seems to me that with each release the spirit is getting younger and although I like this nose, the natural oils are muting it slightly.

The palate is light and youthful. Definitely more Speyside in character than the previous two bottlings, with hints of lemon and a light dusting of icing sugar. Gently smoky with cereal and rose petal marc notes. A rather tart, lightly salty finish but it lingers amazingly well as the salinity increases. Lovely finish with hints of bog myrtle and fishy-peat. Still very enjoyable and excellent value for money.

Benromach Peat Smoke Batch 4 46%

First Fill Bourbon – Peated to 53ppm/ Dist: 2004 Btl: 2011/ Re-Tasted: Apr 2013

A pleasantly fresh, youthful and slightly gristy nose with the distinct Benromach lemon note initially prominent. Again there is a slight Tequila-esque Agave pepperiness but it’s the slightly manurey peat that steals the show! The peat is dry and slightly meaty with just a light medicinal intimation.

The palate is light and lemony with a hint of rose water and barley before the dry, earthy and slightly medicinal peat arrives. Wonderfully intense on the middle with pepper notes joining the peat. Quite full with the oak adding body but not much in the way of vanillins. A wonderfully tongue tingling lemon finish with the peat reek lingering.

Benromach Peat Smoke 2005 (9 year old) 46%

First Fill Bourbon/ Peated to 67ppm/ Dist: 2005 Btl: 2014/ Tasted: Nov 2014

Given its peating level the aromas are pretty heavy on the peat! It’s a mixture of both dry and herbal peat along with a faint brininess. The robust barley sits beneath but the ‘Islay’ character is the dominating theme. With time it becomes very fishy and manurey and you could easily mistake this for a native of Islay.

The palate shows more fruit. Soft, squidgy banana, apricot and barley, but the peat is building! Quite briny on the middle with a sweet, fragrant smokiness and plenty of black pepper. Long, lingering, dry peat, salt, violets, brine and fish oils. Again less peated Spey and more Islay in character.

 


Benromach 2005 (7 year old) ‘Sassicaia Finish’ 45%

Dist: 2005 Btl: 2012/ Bourbon & 30months finish in ex-Sassicaia cask/ Tasted: Aug 2012

A very herbal, juicy and rich nose with sweet cherry aromas mingling with crisp cereal and a thin thread of earthy peat smoke. The finish lessens in intensity given time and allows the youthful cereal to emerge. Well balanced with the finish accentuating rather than dominating.

The palate opens with sweet cherry and some slightly, classic Italian bitter cherry notes. Barley and a touch of honey follows along with a touch of earthy peat on the middle. Quite full and rich but dries towards the end as some herbal character emerges. However suddenly, but briefly the juicy fruit remerges as does the light peat note. Quite pleasant and well balanced.

 


Benromach 10 year old 43%

Bourbon/Sherry – Finished in sweet Oloroso/ Tasted: Dec 2010

The classic, light, grassy citrus spirit melds seamlessly with slightly leafy sherry. There is buckets of pure dark chocolate and hints of peat. Gently smoked with a hard/ brittle barley note.

Initially edgy and brittle on the palate with a hint of sweet orange and barley. The sherry sits in the background adding hints of coffee and chocolate. Quite oily with the lazy peat building but the coffee/ mocha theme continues. The oak gently bitters out the finish and ends with a pure cocoa bean finale.

Benromach 10 year old 43% 1litre Travel Retail Bottling

Tasted: May 2013

A truly dreadful nose of bad, fusty, mouldy wood, confected sherry and burnt woody-peat. It’s bad to the bone!

The palate is metallic, green, fusty and sulphured. Awful! It’s the stuff of nightmares! It’s a vatting of manky old Bourbon casks and sulphured sherry butts, with a liberal sprinkling mouldy, fusty spices. Bad, bad, bad!

Benromach 10 year old 43%

Re-Tasted: Dec 2013

Nose: light herbal-peat with oily honey. Quite phenolic with hints of light tar, vanillins and cardboard. However those notes blow off an mingle with the toasted caramel note.

Palate: quite oily and tarry with herbal, dry peat. Quite full and sweet beneath all the peat with a good fleshy, barley character.

Finish: good length with the herbal-peat, tar and light spice notes lingering.

Conclusion: a little simplistic beneath the peat to be honest but it has a good depth and structure.

Benromach 10 year old 43%

Re-Tasted: Jan 2014

Nose: Very oily with hints of fishy-peat and light tar. Good depth but those oils flatten the aromas somewhat. With time some woody, charcoal spice emerges.

Palate: Soft and oily – fish oil. Again the oils dampen. Pleasant intensity of fishy-peat an parma violets.

Finish: Good, tart citrus and mineral finish with the light peat notes lingering

Conclusion: Not exactly over endowed in the complexity department. The oils see to that, but pleasant nevertheless.

Benromach 10 year old 43%

Re-Tasted: Nov 2014

A lovely nose of fragrant barley, apples, grass, cereal and a touch of honey. Lightly oiled with warm vanilla notes. The sherry is very restrained adding just a suggestion of rich, dried fruit and spice. Beautifully balanced with hints of leafy herbs and peat smoke.

The palate is pleasantly soft, opening with the sweet-ish sherried fruit and sweet American oak. It freshens towards the middle as the citrus arrives, allowing the barley, apple, apricot and a touch of banana get going. Very long and very juicy with the slightly sweet, playful peat coming through. The peat smoke becomes quite dusty as it trails off.

Benromach 10 year old 43%

Re- Tasted: Feb 2015

The dry peat is quite prominent on the nose, more so than the last time I tasted it. Rich, American oak, juicy fruit and barley appears along with just a touch of dried fruit. The vanilla sweetens with time and a touch of smoke appears.

Like the nose the palate displays quite a bit of dry, dusty peat, earth and a little more chocolaty sherried dried fruit – raisins and prune. A hint of vanilla comes through on the middle but the peat comes storming back too with a light tarry note. Long and spicy with lingering peat.

Benromach 10 year old 43% 1 litre Travel Retail Bottling

Tasted: May 2013

A truly dreadful nose of bad, fusty, mouldy wood, confected sherry and burnt woody-peat. It’s bad to the bone!

The palate is metallic, green, fusty and sulphured. Awful! It’s the stuff of nightmares! It’s a vatting of manky old Bourbon casks and sulphured sherry butts, with a liberal sprinkling mouldy, fusty spices. Bad, bad, bad!

Benromach 10 year old 100 Proof 57%

Tasted: Nov 2014

The nose shows more coffee’d sherry aromas than the standard bottling. The dried fruitcake and herbal notes are more prominent and that herbal element has an almost rye-like character. Hints of barley and dusty, coffee’d spice add to the intensity. With time the toffee’d American oak comes through.

Moist vanilla laced fruitcake, clove studded orange and plenty of coffee to begin with. A little drying spice is countered b the sweet malt. Lovely depth and complexity as the toffee’d American oak comes through on the finish along with a touch of light peat.

With water the nose becomes gorgeously citric and honeyed. The sherry has slinked off to leave the bourbon accented sweet fruit showing. No a light peat smoke can be detected. The palate mirrors the nose with the emphasis shifted towards the American oak. With the sherry tamed the apricot, apple and banana notes are all evident now. The peat note on the finish has now become quite sweet and fragrant.

 Benromach 10 year old 100 Proof 57%

Re-Tasted: Jan 2015

Nose: Intense, grainy coffee’d sherry and alcohol! Hints of fragrant smoke, liquorice, toffee, fruitcake and herbal rye-like notes come through. Water softens and emphasises the herbal character.

Palate: Neat, it’s surprisingly soft and well behaved. All the character is cask derived – dried fruit, toffee, walnuts and coffee with a touch of gritty peat and spices. Lightly herbal on the middle. Water makes it a little simpler.

Finish: Long and soft with lingering lightly oiled dried fruit and smoke. Water emphasises the spices, which are delightful.

Conclusion: Given the nose was extremely alcoholic I assumed the palate would be as well, although in fact it’s surprisingly easy to drink neat.

 


Benromach Origins 1999 (9 year old) Batch 1 50%

Golden Promise Barley/ Re-fill Sherry/ Dist: 1999 Btl: 2008/ Tasted: Sept 2008

A 9 yearold spirit, matured in a combination of first and second fill sherry casks, lightly peated to 4ppm.

The nose has an initial buttery note along with floral influences, followed by a prominent toasted malt note with subtle sherry notes in the background. The palate starts creamy and becomes very sweet with the heavily toasted malt influences along with a very delicate smoky nuance. Mouth watering, balanced and complex.

With water the nose displays a distinct sweetness with heavy malt notes, delicate orange peel and some smoke whilst on the palate it  brings out a peppery note.

Benromach Origins 2000 (10 year old) Batch 3 50%

Optic Barley/ Re-fill Sherry/ Dist: 2000 Btl: 2010/ Tasted: Dec 2010

A huge, toffee overload! Followed by biscuity malt and crumbly shortbread, followed by more toffee and more malt. There is a vague smokiness, a touch of orange fruit and a lurking sherry presence, but the toffee gives it a right good kicking! A real enigma of a nose!

The palate is a tad lighter than the nose would suggest although it is still very toffee’d and malty. Thick and chewy, a veritable mouthful of malt! The alcohol attempts to balance and allows some hard citrus and wood spices through. Like the 10 yearold the oak bitters out the finish.

A drop of water just about brings out some fruit on the nose and a slight cardboard note(?) On the palate it has become better balanced with the fresh citrus now keeping the toffee to a relative level. Even the grassy spirit comes through now delivering a metallic twang to the finish along with the bittering oak.

Benromach Origins 1999 (11 year old) Batch 2 50%

Optic Barley/ Port Matured/ Dist: 1999 Btl: 2010/ Tasted: Dec 2010

For a malt that has spent its entire life in port pipes it is surprisingly light in colour. The nose is very much like the Batch 3 – big and toffee’d with the spicy, winey notes being hammered by the toffee. Subtle it isn’t.

The palate however has a lightness of touch with eh earthy red fruit holding the high ground and the toffee lurking. Very oily and dry, there is no shortage of tannins here amongst the spicy/ peppery wine notes. Good length with wine moving into a Turkish delight/ rose petal/ old (slightly musty?)Bordeaux dénouement and like before the oak bittering out the finish.

Water makes the nose a lot more high toned and winey, but doesn’t really affect a huge change upon the palate, although it’s a bit softer and a touch vague now.

 


Benromach 15 year old 40%

Sherry/ Tasted: Nov 2005

Quite an oily nose with a lovely balance of spicy orange fruit, sherry and a touch of peat. It seems older with some mature honey and vanilla notes. Very deep with a slight floral top note. Quite sweet-ish on the palate, again really well balanced with honey, coffee, sherried fruit and spice. Like the nose the honey has a good maturity and a touch of beeswax. Pleasant floral finish with oodles of spice notes lingering.

Benromach 18 year old 40%

Tasted: April 2004

A delightful nose. Light, floral, oily, orange/ apricot bouquet with a hint of sherry. A well rounded malt, medium-bodied with nutty, malty, slightly floral honey and fruity notes.

Benromach Burgundy Finish 45%

4 yrs in sherry/ 7 yrs in Pinot Noir casks

Dist: 2000 Btl: 2011/ Tasted: Sept 2011

A rich and spicy red fruit nose mingling rather pleasantly with some dense, nutty sherry aromas. Reasonably mature with a touch of peat and a slight perfumed note.

The palate is soft and delicately winey. Like the nose, spicy red fruits are given weight and sweetness by the sherry influence. Very smooth, warming with some gently peated dried fruit in the finish. There is minimal distillery character but both casks have blended together in a balanced way.

Benromach Cask Strength 2002 (10 year old) 59.9%

First Fill Bourbon/ Dist: Jan 2002 Btl: Sept 2012/ Tasted: Apr 2013

A little spirity and neutral on the nose. Pure vanilla pod notes are interwoven with a touch of smoke. The oak becomes creamier with time and a touch of white fruit, liquorice and Tequila-esque pepper appears. With time the fruit takes on a more pulped Agave quality.

The palate has a reasonable depth of gentle barley along with that pulped Agave fruit. Again a little spirity and the intensity of the alcohol makes the mouth water. Delicately peppery with a light peat smoke finish.

With water the palate become lighter and more distinctly Spey in character with lemon and gristy barley and a Sauvignon Blanc like grassiness. Still very peppery and Tequilla-esque but a lovely honeyed sweetness has emerged. The palate is softer and fleshier, but still quite light and delicate. There is less of the Agave character but it’s still detectable. Delicately smoked with a juicy, crystallised fruit finish.

Benromach 1980 (24 year old) 58.6%

Dist: 1980 Btl: 2004/ Tasted: Feb 2005

An intense, oily nose of honeyed orange fruit, a touch of peat and earth. There is a lovely freshness to thearomas with loads of refill-sherry notes and citrus. Lovely orange fruit on the palate, buckets of clean honey, malt and mouth coating spices along with a touch of coffee. It needs a drop of water to fully appreciate this malt. It brings out a fresh perfumed note and a touch of vanilla and spices on the nose.

On the palate it emphasises the oils, smooth’s and brings out the glorious fruit. Sweet and sappy with loads of wood spices on the finish. It certainly doesn’t seem like it is 24 years old!

Benromach 30 year old 43%

First & Refill Sherry casks/ Tasted: Apr 2013

Beautifully deep aromas of light honey. coated orange and barley. Dusty oak arrives with hints of alnut and light treacle. A gorgeous combination of granulated and demerara sugar tops the slightly tropical guava, apricot and banana. The oak does become more assertive but the aromas still retain their fresh edge. Wonderfully silky and mature.

The palate is so soft and juicy, opening with light barley sugar and a drizzle of thin honey. The mature oak adds some deft spices and the sugars arrive right on cue! Very mouth-filling but getting a little dry towards the end as the oak asserts itself. Sublimely elegant with a little milk chocolate and duty spice on the finish.

Benromach 30 year old 43%

Re-Tasted: Nov 2014

A beautiful, mature nose of sawdusty oak and luscious honey. Supremely balanced with layers and layers which unfold to show lime, apricot, kiwi, mango, white grape and cereal. It’s a veritable fruit salad of a nose! A little dried fruit appears along with hints of lightly oiled spice and Demerara sugar.

The palate is soft and juicy with light honey, barley, white grape, apricot, kiwi and lime. The combination of mature sherry and bourbon oak sits beneath giving support. Hints of Java coffee, milk chocolate and beautifully dusty spices come through on the finish. Although it dries a little that light honey note punches above its weight to offset. Stunning stuff!

Benromach 1976 (36 year old) 46%

Dist: 1976 Btl: 2012/ Tasted: Nov 2014

The nose is even deeper and dustier than the 30 year old! However the aromas are more vibrant, which could be down to abv, showing a little more herbal sherry. The tropical fruit is still apparent but the gorgeous, mature oak is the focal point. A little herbal peat emerges with time and the fruit begins to fight back. With time it becomes a little chocolaty with a touch of Demerara sugar and sweet spice appearing.

The palate is so soft and luscious with coffee and chocolate saturated honey along with beautiful moist dried fruitcake. Like the nose it is vibrant and gently spiced with the tropical fruit coming through on the middle. Stunning finish with citrus, minerals and some lightly oiled marzipan. The spices tease and bitter a little but the after-taste is pure cocoa powder with a light granulated sugar sweetness. Damn fine stuff!

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