Benromach 9, 2011 (for Binny’s)

This week of Benromach reviews has gone quite well so far. It got off to a good start on Monday with Batch 1 of the Benromach Cask Strength. And things improved further with Wednesday’s review of an 11 yo bourbon hogshead bottled for Binny’s (the Cask Strength was also 11 years old). The last whisky of the week is the youngest at 9 years old. It was also bottled for Binny’s and is from a first-fill sherry hogshead. Hopefully, it won’t break the hot streak. Let’s see.

Benromach 9, 2011 (60.6%; first-fill sherry hogshead 719 for Binny’s; from a bottle split)

Nose: Leads with nutty, slightly salty notes with a bit of butterscotch running under them. The high strength is damping things down, of course, but this is not as peaty off the top as the bourbon cask. On subsequent sniffs the peat is more apparent: slightly rubbery with hot stones/tarmac and some milky cocoa. With more time some fruit begins to poke through as well: plum, orange peel, a bit of apricot; after more airing, there’s a fair bit of lime as well. With a few drops of water the fruit come all the way to the front, the apricot leading the way; the salt turns to rock salt.

Palate: Leads with the salt here as well with the peat coming up from below it. Hot but not unapproachable at full strength; mouth-coating texture. The peat expands with every sip and it gets a bit sooty as it goes. With time the sweet fruit emerges here as well but it’s the citrus that dominates; the salt never quits. Okay, let’s see what water does for it. It reins the salt in a little and lets the fruit shine here as well (more citrus than apricot here). The peat expands as well (mostly in the hot tarmac vein).

Finish: Long. The salt lingers for a while and then makes room for sweeter notes; the peat makes the final impression. Develops as on the palate and picks up some white pepper at the end. As on the palate with water. Rock salt here as well at the end.

Comments: A saltier, brighter, less austere version of the bourbon cask. Hard to pick between them; luckily, I don’t have to.

Rating: 88 points.



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