Benromach 8, 2011 (for The Whisky Exchange)

This is a Benromach blog now. All Benromach reviews all the time. Well, this week anyway. On Monday I reviewed a young bourbon cask that was a UK exclusive. I really liked that one. Yesterday I had a review of the recent sherry cask edition of the distillery’s Peat Smoke release. That one seemed unpromising at first but then improved dramatically with water. Today another young Benromach from a sherry cask, another UK exclusive. This one was in fact exclusive to one particular store, The Whisky Exchange: it was one of several whiskies bottled to mark the store’s 20th anniversary. This is from a single sherry cask, a first-fill hogshead. Good friends were visiting London right when the pandemic hit and they were kind enough to bring me back a couple of bottles recommended by Billy Abbott at TWE (this Inchmurrin was the other). Billy recommended this one highly. When I first opened the bottle a couple of months ago I found it to be a bit too hot and indistinct but it’s mellowed nicely since. Here now are my notes.

Benromach 8, 2011 (59.1%%; bottled for The Whisky Exchange; first-fill sherry hogshead #400;  from my own bottle)

Nose: Big sherry notes of pencil lead, salted nuts, raisins along with some dried mushrooms and damp earth. More char after a minute or so—a mix of smoke and burnt meat. With more time and air, some plum sauce and dried tangerine peel begin to emerge and there’s some dusty oak as well. A few drops of water make it brighter and pull out some apricot.

Palate: Comes in a bit sweeter than the nose but is otherwise in line with it. A bit hot but after the bottle being open for two months it’s quite approachable anyway. The smoke emerges on the second sip and it’s barbecue smoke wafting through a haze of charred pork and sauce. More (brandied) raisins with time. Water pulls it all together and pulls out some pipe tobacco.

Finish: Medium-long. Nothing very interesting here at first beyond the alcohol and oak burn. Slight sherry separation early in the finish but it seems to recombine. Saltier as it goes. The sherry separation goes away with the addition of water and the pipe tobacco continues here. Some bitter chocolate at the end.

Comments: This is a very good young sherried whisky. Despite emerging from a smaller cask it’s not completely overcome by the sherry or the oak (in fact the oak is not very palpable). That said, there’s nothing very distinctive about this. It’s a big young sherried whisky. I could have believed it was from a number of distilleries in Scotland—which is not something I would have said about the other two Benromachs I reviewed this week, especially the bourbon cask.

Rating: 87 points.

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