Benromach is one of those distilleries you can’t ignore. Small and privately owned by Gordon and MacPhail, the distillery has come to stand for all that’s right in the whisky industry. On the one hand, they just do things in such a traditional way, with the same care that goes into the stewardship of the Gordon and MacPhail stocks with unambiguous age statements (even on the five year old) and naturally color and no chill filtration, and on the other hand, the marketing and distribution is wholly in the 21st century.
I had the opportunity to meet distillery manager Keith Cruickshank, and have a chat with him on some of the new things happening in the distillery. This was just a day or two after one of the stills was replaced in the course of normal maintenance, and seeing the pictures on Keith’s phone and the pride and enthusiasm on his face was heart warming. He really loves his job 🙂
Here’s a video on G&M, the Urquhart family and the Benromach distillery:
There were two new expressions that the distillery unveiled right before the Show, both new wood finishes – one in Hermitage casks (which I tasted and will publish my notes on), and one in Sassicaia wood , a Bordeaux style Italian wine, which didn’t make it to the show. The Benromach dream dram at the show was the vintage 1976, which predates the G&M days, and is a really fabulous dram, although competing in value is really hard when you’re pitted against your own 10 year old and the 10 year old 100 proof…..
Benromach 1976, Refill Sherry Butt (46% ABV, NCF, NC)
Appearance: Gold, very slow and thin legs.
Nose: Fresh peaches, honeysuckle, freshly cut green leaves, hints of vanilla, cake frosting, hint of lemon and the lightest hidden whiff of smoke. There is an overall sweetness to the dram.
Palate: Peat, red fruit, honey. It’s lovely in the mouth with a creamy citrus peel note and nutmeg. There are notes of fresh green fruit.
Linger: Some peatiness lingers high in the throat, with a tartness in the mouth and an overall linger of vanilla. Nice and long.
This is a beautiful dram, well worthy of being being sipped slowly and savored. Obviously, being 36 years old, its far calmer and more subtle than the 10 year olds the distillery offers, but that in no way suggests the they are inferior to this fine dram.
Now I’m setting my eyes to getting to taste the 1969 Benromach. When I do, you’ll be the first to know about it 🙂