Benromach – 10 Year Old – Single Malt Scotch Whisky | 43% (86 Proof) Bottle courtesy of Mom, Thanks!
Color/Appearance: Golden amber with a nice amount of sherry cask influence giving it a great color for something only ten years old. Not labeled as natural color (* see new info below) and unfortunately it is also chill filtered. I find the modern type and label design give the wrong impression about what is inside. Why revive an old style of Speyside peated whisky and wrap it with such a modern look?
Nose: Fresh grass, cherry pie, gun metal, salt, green moss on a rock by the sea, old wooden fence posts, chocolate and apple skins. Just lovely. Inviting without being too upfront. The peat is there but expresses itself softly, bringing you close to the ground.
Palate: There is an old motor oil presence that gives it a very non-modern feel. Wonderful. Fresh and fruity but with a savory mossy peat undercurrent that makes it feel more restrained. This pulls it away from sherried extravagance and towards the earth. The balance achieved is not through massive forces battling to a draw but a careful slow addition of essential flavors that counterbalance each other. Raspberries with a touch of creamy vanilla glaze. A small honey covered spoonful of cherry cough syrup with a single drop of motor oil. Beguiling. Slides down all too easily. Just enough depth to keep you going back for more exploration.
Finish: Warm and slightly spicy with the peat starting show a bit of smoke. The oak is very very restrained here and it glides out rather smoothly. Berries and a touch of sweet tea kiss the tongue as it departs.
Overall: This is a rather shockingly delicious malt, especially for the price. Lightly peated, lightly sherried and in the style of Speyside whiskies of old. Which is a style that obviously should not have fallen out of favor. Drinking it I can’t help but be reminded of a famous distillery from Campbeltown. Which is a very good thing. This has enough complexity and maturity that it could easily pass for a fourteen year old malt. I would say that this is a must purchase whisky. I think that the label and design had turned me off to this brand but knowing what they are able to achieve at only ten years I know that I must explore some more of their range. I would kindly suggest dropping the colorant (* see new info below), chill filtration and at least bring it up to a respectable 46%. In its current form it doesn’t seem to take water well and a little more oomph would make these delicious flavors shine even further. Still it’s wonderful stuff as it is and affordable to boot. What more can you ask?
* I was contacted by the nice people at Benromach distillery and they informed me that all of their single malts feature natural color. That is great news and I apologize for getting that wrong in my review. In this day and age with so many companies adding colorant it seems to be a good idea to list this important and beneficial information right on the bottle. Just a thought.
They have recently come out with some new packaging which looks very cool and have just released a 57% version of this ten year old, which sounds lovely. Maybe the the topic of a future post.