Sunday, 5 July 2015

Benromach - 15 year old - Review

At the start of the year I posted a review of the Benromach 10 year old, which I had sampled at a masterclass at last year's Whisky Live Dublin, and in that review I touched upon the pride I felt Benromach were taking in their whiskies and how whiskies of such obvious quality should be the ones that are paid most attention.

As previously mentioned Benromach are pushing themselves forward by recreating whisky in a style that would've been seen coming from Speyside back in the 1960's and it is certainly paying dividends.

Fast forward to May and excitement grew as Benromach announced the latest addition to their already impressive range - Benromach 15 year old.

Priced at just under £50, the Benromach 15 year old has been bottled at 43% and has been matured in a mix of bourbon and sherry casks.

Upon receipt of a sample I was obviously eager to get the chance to see how this measures up against the very impressive 10 year old.

Onto my notes:

Nose - Rich. Lovely interplay between damp wood smoke, slight menthol and fruits that range from red berries to baked apple to tropical notes of ripe banana and then onto some orange marmalade.  As it softens in the glass a distinct buttery note comes through the gentle smoke.  In time the nose balances out perfectly and retains a zesty zing of citrus.  Spices are minimal in the form of black peppercorn and cinnamon.  With a touch of water a green grassy note appears along with some nice oak char.

Palate - Incredibly smooth and slightly sour arrival.  Sweet oranges and lemon drops are to the front and followed by rich malty notes that border on malt extract.  The smoke is even more gentle on the palate and is also less than what I remember from the 10 year old.  The extra time in the casks has clearly rounded this off very well indeed.  Spicing is again well balanced and again is only the merest hints of cracked black pepper.  With water the sourness eases to allow sweeter notes through.  Buttered popcorn, sweet orange and crisp citrus.  A slight sense of the smoke returns in the form of charred wood and the palate rounds off with light berry and oak spice.

Finish - Lovely length with dry oak spice, red fruits and crunchy red apples.

Overall this is another stunner from the team at Benromach.  With the slight smoke running through the luscious sherry notes they really have, in my opinion, started to get that old style feel to the whisky they are producing. 

Over time I have tried many different whiskies that were bottled long ago, and each time I've tasted them I've always wondered if we would ever see anything similar in the future as the older bottled whisky really is so, so different.  With this Benromach 15 year old I am now starting to see serious similarities.

You could bottle this into an old bottle from the 60's, 70's or 80's and I doubt too many would question that it wasn't from that era.  That said I am honest in saying that my experience of older bottled whisky is not extensive but what experience I have had would definitely add up to this conclusion.

For years people have always asked me what my favourite whisky was and my answer has always been the likes of Redbreast or maybe Balblair and, while they are still answers I shall give, I can now honestly add Benromach into that list.

This really is seriously good stuff and at a price of under £50 some other big companies should sit up and take notice of how easy it is to get things right

Until next time,


PS Huge thanks to Benromach for the sample.