Since the relaunch and critical acclaim of the Benromach 10 I’ve been keen to get my head round this range. I’ve had a few drams at whisky festivals but nothing as indepth and relaxed as a Tweet Tasting (this one was #Benromach35 with the Whisky Wire).
All these are first fill casks of various types, and the younger bottlings all use a lightly peated malt to produce a more “old fashioned” style of Speyside whisky.
Made with 80% Bourbon barrels, 20% Sherry hogshead. Final year spent in first fill Oloroso casks.
Nose - Ripe green apple, cherry lip salve and warm wood. Soft liquorice? Cocoa nibs and slightly burnt buttered toast. Sugared almonds and mini-eggs. A little peat is used and this comes through in a slightly less integrated way than in HP, say, although it very well appreciated.
Body - Soft and warm, a touch of charred wood in the delivery, with cigarette tar and burning leaves. Wet cardboard and accidentally chewed birthday candles.
Finish - Orange zest, orange wax and wooden school desks at the end. Lasting cigarette tar.
This is a very interest take on a peated whisky, like a very mild Octomore. Well balanced and just a little challenging. A tumbler drammer. Recommended.
Nose - Classier (sweeter, waxier, winier and a bit more complex). Orange lacquer, strawberry laces, and cigar tobacco now. Fresh earth and fried raisins. But with a little digging there's a really deep, elegant, smoked sweetness, with glacé cherries on exhale. Marmalade, cigar smoke, a little Pritt stick and toffee apple. Lovely.
Body - Sweeter, spicier and more toasted than the 10 with orange zest and oak. The Liquorice allsort covered in tiny blue balls against the sweet sherry wood. Orange icing and sooty birthday candle wax.
Finish - Tannic and very drying. BBQed oranges, lots of grapefruit and chewed cinnamon stick
Bigger and more bruising than the 10 but with the intensity and class to back it up. Delicious.
20 years earlier, and from a previous set of stills, no peat. First fill sherry casks.
Body - Fresh lime juice, a touch of spice, sweetly intense charred wood and black pepper. Hand soap. Very classy with wood wax and retronasally tropical, white wine all the way down.
Finish - Very long, numbing wood oils - splints and cloves.
A complex and fascinating whisky. But not as good as the Cadenheads 38 year old I brought to my 40th birthday party.