It was the 100th. Tweet Tasting last Wednesday night and the last one before Chrimbo and to celebrate both events Steve from The Whisky Wire gave us a cracking selection of drams to savour from the folks at the Benromach Distillery.
We were lucky enough to get a chance to try their Heritage 1973 Cask 4606 of which only 52 bottles have been produced. So, a rare chance indeed!
Benromach is a Speyside distillery founded by Duncan McCallum and F.W. Brickman in 1898 and currently owned and run by Gordon and Macphail who took over the distillery in 1993. Following a painstaking restoration, it was re-opened by HRH Prince Charles in 1998.
Since then sales of the classic Speyside malt have grown dramatically and Benromach is now exported to 42 countries around the world.
In 2013 a third distiller was recruited and additional warehouses were added to allow production to be expanded.
April 2014 saw a new look for the flagship Benromach 10 Years Old, reflecting its pre-1960s character and the fact that each cask is hand-filled, hand-weighed and hand-stamped.
In all the four drams sampled were:-
- Benromach 10 Years Old
- Benromach 100° Proof
- Benromach 15 Years Old
- Benromach 1973
If you want to catch up on what all the tasters had to say you can view the tweets by searching for the hash tag #BenromachXmas on Twitter.
So, what did I think?
Here are my tasting notes … and the one which was my favourite on the night!
Tasting Notes – Benromach 10 Years Old (43%)
For this 10 year old the recipe is – 80% Bourbon barrels, 20% Sherry hogshead. Final year in first fill Oloroso casks.
Nose: Peaty and smokey – whiffs of sweetness and lovely caramel, maple syrup and honey aromas. There’s also stewed fruits and vanilla with the smoke fadeing away after a while …
Palate: Sweet Christmas cake mixture, grapefruit and a whiff of smoke pushing thru the sherriness.
Finish: Long, fiery, peppery, smoke-infused finish with hints of tobacco. Dry tanin aftertaste.
Overall: Quite a raw beast this one but a very drinkable dram all the same.
Tasting Notes – Benromach 100° Proof (57%)
Named after the old Imperial measure which followed a tradition established when skeptical sailors, who wanted to ensure their rum rations had not been watered down mixed spirit with gunpowder. If the mixture ignited, its strength was “proved”!
Nose: Sweet sherry frutiness. Apples and sweet sugars, honey, chocolate and demerara makes an appearance.
Palate: Sweet, rich fruit cake, sherry and spiciness – all delivered in an “Oomph!” of pure spirit!
Finish: Very smooth finish, lovely muted pepperyness peat and smokiness blending together well. Some tobacco also.
Overall: Class in a Glass – all you need is a roaring open fire to sip it by – and don’t get up from your seat too quickly!
Tasting Notes – Benromach 15 Years Old (43%)
As with the 10 year old the 15 year is matured in both bourbon barrels & sherry casks, with the sherry being the more dominant part.
Benromach insist on only using the highest quality first fill casks, from a variety of different sources. They take casks from the bodegas of one of the world’s leading sherry houses in Spain: Williams & Humbert.
Benromach also have new oak casks made to exact specifications of thickness of stave & charring by Antonio Paez Lobato. These casks are used to mature sherry for 3 years before they’re emptied & shipped to the distillery.
Benromach also use ex-bourbon barrels, which are shipped from America & coopered in Speyside.
Nose: Honeyed and waxy with green apples. No smoke etc. for me on this one at all and I have to admit to a little mint! (This caused quite a discussion on the night!)
Palate: Smooth, rounded, bit of smoke, some lovely frutiness and is my mouth deceiving me – do I taste a little mint as well?!
Finish: Sweet, dry finish, hint of tobacco – quite short … I thought.
Tasting Notes – Benromach 1973 (48.9%)
Limited to just 52 bottles, Benromach Heritage 1973 Cask 4606, is a UK exclusive.
Benromach Heritage 1973, is a 42 Year Old single malt, which was distilled before the Urquhart family took the reins and brought Benromach Distillery back to life in 1998. It currently retails for around £1400
Nose: Cherrys, crisp green apples, sumptous honey! Pineapple and sweet candy with zingy refreshers!
Palate: WoW! Intense! Sweet, tropical fruits, mint & zesty lemon.
Finish: Coffee and sweet pepper finish but the tropical hit just goes on and on! Familiar hints of tobacco at the very end.
Overall: Lots of flavours coming and going within this exceptional dram. I could have gone on discovering new flavours all night and I probably would have but my sample ran dry!
It was a big deal for me to get to taste this cracker – so many different flavours in a glass – remarkable!
My Favourite On The Night
Out of the four, I think it’s got to be the Benromach 1973. Well it has to be doesn’t it? History in the drinking!
My fellow Tweeters were:-
Benromach is available to buy from these Whisky Merchants:-
- Edencroft Fine Wine & Spirit Specialists
- Abbey Whisky
- Master of Malt
- The Whisky Exchange
- The Whisky Barrel
- The Green Welly Stop
- Whisky Online
Many thanks to Steve for another great year of Tweet Tasting – Here’s to 2017!