Updated: May 16, 2022
43% - Offical bottling
A ‘traditional’ Speyside distillery that is quite vocal about doing things the old-fashioned way and by hand. They get their water from the Chapelton Spring in the Romach Hills, and their signature flavour comes from lightly peated barley.
Benromach used to have a very unique branding, where the distillery name was printed in distinctive handwritten script on the packaging, and the bottle shape was very standard, until about a year ago when they completely re-branded and went with an entirely new look that couldn’t be further from the original. It was a brave move, but absolutely one that worked. If you wanted a lesson in how to create a product that shines out on a shelf amongst similar products, this is how to do it. But I’m not here to talk about the packaging (even though I just have)
Their offerings are a core range that includes a 10yr, 15yr, 21yr plus a 40yr. There are also few non-age-stated whiskies of different cask-types as well as a Cask Strength release and the odd single cask.
The 15yr for this review has been matured in a mixture of first-fill ex-Bourbon and ex-sherry casks. And it’s clear from the outset that the sherry is not cowering in the background. The sherry influence is, in fact, very loud. So one can assume the quality and quantity of these casks was in favour of sweet-toothed sherryheads. Like me.
Nose: Sweetness of toffee with some peat smoke (but edging more towards a gentle bbq & bonfire note), milk bottle sweets, a paper bag of fudge, peanut brittle, and a peppery sourness. It's a lovely sweet and gently-cloying bag of aromas.
Palate: Toasted & singed marshmallow fluff (that my kids have in a jar) What a lovely flavour to start off with. There’s then a sweetness of sherry, toffee, warm sweetened milk, and gentle peat. The body then starts to fan out and take on a more gravelly and minerally note that carries with it smoke from an open fire and warming pepper. That sweetness then sweeps back in leaving a light oiliness with a touch of very gentle bonfire smoke.
Finish: Medium-long. Given it’s a vatting at 43%, it’s longer than I was expecting. And mouth-coatingly oily as well.
Conclusion: Really, really good. Extremely warming, full of sweetness, and extremely approachable. I’m Surprised that the 43% carries as much as it does. I would question whether it‘a NCF, as it “might be” – but I’m not 100% sure. It doesn’t mention anything about this on the packaging. Either way, it’s really good stuff and I know the bottle won’t last very long.
Widely available and prices can vary between £55-£69 dependent on where you go. I grabbed my bottle from a local retailer Duncan Murray Wines (who also does some amazing beers)
More about Benromach here