This is only my second review of a Benromach and in the previous one I noted that I’ve not tasted very many whiskies from this distillery. This is certainly the oldest I’ve had by a fair margin. Closed by the previous owners in 1983, the distillery has been owned by Gordon & MacPhail since 1993 but only started producing whisky again in 1998. Which obviously means this 25 yo was distilled by the previous regime. This is from a bottle that was purchased from The Party Source in Kentucky some years ago and there’s not much specific information on the label or out there on the intertubes on it. However, given that there was also a general release 25 yo at the same strength from the 1981 vintage it seems likely that this may have been part of that batch as well, bottled specially for The Party Source. If you know more about this release please write in below.
And now let’s get right to it.
Benromach 25 (54.2%; from a sample from a fellow whisky geek)
Nose: Mineral oil and pepper and some cream as well to go with the prickliness. Spicy oak below that and some peat (more leathery and oily than phenolic or smoky). A very old-school, austere profile. And not much change with water.
Palate: Sweeter than the nose would have suggested but otherwise right in line with it: peppery peat and oiled machinery and some creamy vanilla around it all. Maltier on the second sip with some cocoa powder. Gets saltier as it goes. Not much change with time; let’s see if water brings out anything else. Yes, with water there’s some fruit: orange (fruit and zest); still quite peppery though.
Finish: Medium. No new development. As on the palate with water but goes on longer now.
Comments: My notes may not indicate it but I really like this style of whisky—quite austere with no lizard brain pleasures. This reminded me quite a bit of the Cadenhead’s Ardmore 18, 1977 that I like a lot; it’s a style that’s not really around so much these days; I wish I’d bought a bottle of it too when it was still around (this was well before The Party Source stopped shipping).
Rating: 87 points.
Thanks to Jerome for the sample (and for the confirmation about the lack of specificity on the bottle label)!