Gordon and MacPhail’s Benromach distillery were kind enough to send us an early Christmas present in the form of some samples from the Classic Collection expressions.
We’ll review all three we received, but will start with the entry level 10 year old.
Bottled at 43%, this is intended as an approachable regular drinking whisky with the distillery’s typical flavour profile of classic Speyside with just a hint of peat.
The expression is created by maturing in 80% bourbon, 20% sherry casks for the first 9 years, with the final year’s maturation being exclusively in sherry wood.
Our tasting notes are below.
It’s sweet, but not in the typical vanilla or raisin way – almost a mineral character with an oily ‘meatiness’ like you see in Mortlach and Springbank.
Green apple emerges along with some barley cereal notes and some brazil nut.
Leads with a creamy cereal note; like milky porridge. Little hints of fruit sharpness appear, like freeze-dried raspberry and then the smoke comes in.
A peppery kick hits the back of the throat, but it stays rich and creamy with the vanilla flavours giving it a custard feel.
There’s spice in there too – dried ginger and herbal tea.
It’s a bigger finish than you might expect from a 10 year old, but that 43% allows the flavours to stick rather than being washed away. Ashy smoke, black pepper, dry sherry fight it out for a strong, oily bittersweet finish.
I suspect a lot of people would be thrown by this in a blind taste – it’s an expression which belies both it’s age and region. I’m not familiar enough with Benromach (shame!) to recognise the characteristics, however introspective of this, the fullness of flavour in this 10 year old is fantastic.
There is Speyside sweetness, but a lot more in addition and the flavour profile has more in common with some Island whiskies I’ve tried.
I will definitely be stocking up on this for the future and thanks to G&M for sending the samples.