Benromach – 15 Years Old – Single Malt Scotch Whisky | 43% (86 Proof)
Color/Appearance: Pale weak amber. This has a nice natural look for a whisky that has a mix of bourbon and sherry casks used for maturation. It seems to have a higher proportion of sherry casks in comparison to the ten year old expression. This fifteen year old single malt was released just this spring and has not reached the U.S. markets yet. I was lucky enough to receive a sample from the fine folks at Benromach. Then the other day I noticed some people posting pictures on Twitter of the samples they had received for a Benromach Tweet Tasting. These were the exact same two samples sent to me as well. I had a thought, which does sometime happen. Maybe I should just join the Tweet Tasting. I had always thought it seemed like fun and this was the perfect opportunity to give it a go. Thankfully Steve from The Whisky Wire, who organizes these things, welcomed the idea. And off into the land of Twitter my notes and banter did go. Here is a record of what I tasted and thought.
Nose: Sugared plums, rich, deep, but also nicely mello and gentle. It is opening up slowly but the flavors that are unpacking are a delight. Honey on buttered toast, jelly roll, orange biscuits and flowers, maybe some lilies of the valley. Very gentle compared to the ten year old. After a good while longer there is some slight smoke starting to come though. This is a glorious nose that just gets better and better the longer you give it to expand. I found myself going back to the empty glass long after the tasting was over to re-experience these great aromas.
Palate: Complex with dried cherries, plums, raisins, warm winter cake, spices, nuts, nougat, sprightly oak, and a hint of ginger. Something delicious is being baked right in your mouth. It is a whisky that is easy to enjoy. A little unchallenging, but that is probably the point. It glides through your mouth with the greatest of ease. Refined and developed but doesn’t feel engineered or pushed.
Finish: Christmas’ last log slowly smoking in the fireplace. A sweet embrace that leaves pleasant lingering reminders. Easy going and enjoyable finish. Cinnamon and just a touch of drying oak. Very light on the wood but the casks have left their influence. They must be using some steller casks over at Benromach to achieve this result.
Overall: Very different balance than the ten with much more sherry influence and a deep luxuriousness. I do miss some of the oily old school peat, but the fifteen has more chewy richness to cling to. The peat is still here, but super restrained and subtle. Just a hint of smoke here and there, and some sweet earthy peat in the palate. If you are not into peat I would not worry as these notes are very minor. Really, if you were not looking for them they might go completely unnoticed. This a sweet and elegance whisky and one that a very wide range of people will enjoy. One to savor with your family by your side, when life is good. Thanks again to the great people over at Benromach for allowing me the opportunity to taste this exciting new expression. Also thanks to fellow Tweet Tasters, I had a blast and hope to someday join you again. It felt like sharing some drams with a few friends at home. The shared experience and funny banter quickly dissolved the great physical distance between us. Search on Twitter for #BenromachTT if you want to see what transpired.