Benromach week continues. On Monday, I reviewed the first batch of the current Benromach Cask Strength, an 11 yo put together from bourbon and sherry casks. I thought it was quite good but well short of great. Today, I have for you a review of another official 11 yo. This is a single bourbon barrel, distilled in 2010 and bottled for Binny’s in Chicago. There was a time when Binny’s shipped all over the US, and they played a major part in the years that my whisky mania was approaching its peak. Now it’s been several years since the Binny’s supply got choked off for people residing elsewhere; I now barely buy any whisky from anywhere; and its been a while since my relationship with whisky collecting/amassing passed the manic stage. Now I am slowly drinking down what I amassed just short of a decade ago and not mourning too much the missed opportunities to try releases not available in Minnesotsa. Will this cask of Benromach make me melancholy? Let’s see.
Benromach 11, 2010 (56.2%; first-fill bourbon barrel 595 for Binny’s; from a bottle split)
Nose: A lovely mix of zesty lemon and mineral peat—something a bit Campbeltown’ish about it. Yes, on the second sniff there’s a fair bit of almond oil and there’s some sweetness under the lemon zest. Saltier with each sniff. Sweeter with water (poundcake with a lot of vanilla)
Palate: Comes in with the salt, the lemon and the mineral peat, turning ashier as I swallow (or is that hot stone?). Hot but approachable at full strength with nice, oily texture. The lemon takes the lead after a few sips and there’s some sweeter fruit just peeking through as well. Let’s see if water brings it out a little more. Yes, it does: tart-sweet peach and plum; the peat gets pushed back now.
Finish: Long. The peat is the top note here, picking up some pepper along with more of the hot stone. Develops as on the palate with time and water.
Comments: This was a very nice surprise. As I say at the start, I got a strong Campbeltown vibe from its mix of bright lemon and more austere peaty pleasures. Back in the day when Binny’s still shipped, I would have placed an order before posting this review.
Rating: 88 points.
I am admittedly a bit of a Benromach fanboy, in that I loved their departed 10 Year/100 Proof (called Imperial Proof stateside), like the standard 10 quite a bit even though it’s only 43%, and *really* like their many single bourbon casks done for scads of countries, festivals and vendors. These cask strength singles, which seem to range from 9-12 years old, are a ton of muscular, peaty fun that give many a more pedigreed Islay or Campbeltown a run for their money. Wish I could get them easier in my state. K&L had one early this year that I gifted to an LA-living friend from afar.