Last year, Benromach revamped their core range lineup and the 10 year old was relaunched (or repackaged) together with a new 10 year old at cask strength (to be reviewed tomorrow) and a whirlwind of attention rose around the got a lot of attention, especially from the geeks. There were also all kinds of prizes, but those are, honestly, not really interesting if you’re not part of the marketing department or of the panel.
There is, however, a good reason for that. The new (or not really new) version hits upon all the right notes, with lot of flavors coming through from three specific elements: The peat from the malting process (Benromach sources its malt, so it’s probably not kilned but sprayed), the first maturation (80% bourbon casks and 20% sherry casks), and the year long finish in first fill European oak sherry hogsheads.
I didn’t taste the old Benromach 10, so the best I can do is bring you Michael Urquhart describing the dram, it sounds pretty much the same (definitely the same process):
Benromach 10 Years Old (43% ABV, NCF, NC)
Appearance: Bronze, thin and slow legs with residue.
Nose: Malt, sherry and some light peat. There’s a sherry sweetness with dried fruit and some new leather, toasted dark bread and a hint of peat. There’s also a hint of some fresh leaves and instant coffee with milk (is this Michael Urquhart’s chocolate note?).
Palate: Sweet at first, then spicy with a mixture of dark fruit jam with smoke and a light fizz on the tongue. There’s also black pepper and some chili pepper there too.
Linger: Pepper and peat all around, with a note of smoky bitterness. The linger is rather long leaving a tingle on the inside of the cheeks with notes of coffee.
This is a bright and vivid dram that harks back to the old Speyside whisky style combining sherry and peat. It also provides good value for your money, priced at £35/€40, it’s competitively priced with other entry level whiskies, and provides a great combination of flavors.