Whisky Tasting Notes: Benromach 10

by Keith Savage · 2 comments


Benromach 10 Year Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky

Some time ago I received a sample of Benromach 10 with the understanding that I would taste it and share my thoughts, whatever they might be. You can’t imagine how happy I was to receive that sample. It has been a secret wish of mine to get into writing whisky tasting notes. Though I admit some doubt in my olfactory faculties, command of vernacular and vocabulary may well make up for any deficit in that realm. We shall see, I suppose.

For regular readers, Benromach will be no stranger. I’ve written two articles here about my visits to the distillery (Benromach: Rocking the Boat in Speyside and Tasting Award-Winning Whiskies at Benromach), and it remains high on my list of favorite distilleries in Scotland. Tucked away in the town of Forres in northern Speyside, Benromach is the smallest distillery in the area — a craft distillery, if such a thing could be said to exist in Scotland. You can read all about Benromach’s history and production in my previous posts because this one is about tasting Benromach 10, though I have written some tasting notes for this particular whisky before:

From Tasting Award-Winning Whiskies at Benromach:

In the glass, this whisky is a rich bronze color. On the nose, the classic sherry character is clear with milk chocolatecinnamon, and a hint of stewed fruit while a waft of smoke curtains through. I get a chocolate-chip cookie note and craisins, some oak chips. The delicious nose follows through on the palate with smoked red berries in cream and Sherry. This is a big, balanced, mouth-coating whisky.

From The Speyside Whisky Diaries:

Benromach 10 is the person across the party you can’t take your eyes off of. A Russian doll of dried fruits then smoke then nuts then mocha. All those itchy scratches from the berry patch. Someone smoking while making oatmeal and eating dried currants. Your favorite neighbor.

You might wonder, “why more tasting notes?” and it would be a fair question. Distilleries do their best to maintain uniformity of character in their standard whiskies year to year, but there are usually small variations. Sometimes the variation is greater when there is change in wood policy, distilling turnover, or ownership, and it’s a good idea to verify the whisky remains at the same high quality you’ve come to expect. In Benromach’s case, they’ve recently rebranded their entire line and it marks a good excuse to review their flagship expression: Benromach 10.

A note: There really is no contradicting what a person smells or tastes. Certain parts of the whisky-making process yield definitive flavors, and in my experience with tastings most people are on target with their notes, it’s just a matter of specificity. One person might say the whisky is spicy while the next says he picks up cinnamon and nutmeg. The purpose of tasting notes is simply to give you an idea of a whisky’s flavor profile, to help you purchase whiskies you’ll enjoy.

Bottle Notes

Benromach 10 spends its first nine years in an 80/20 split of bourbon and sherry casks before a final year in sherry casks. The whisky is bottled at 43% ABV with a label describing the whisky as such: Delicious forest fruits and creamy malt. A wisp of smoke and lingering luscious sherry notes.

Appearance

Rich bronze. Think oranges, brown sugar, unfiltered orange blossom honey. When the light catches the dram it reveals motes of citrine reminiscent of green barley. A looker, its warmth apparent in its visage.

Nose

On first nosing Benromach 10 is full of red fruits, a bit peaty with turned earth and a mineral freshness. The sherry character shines through with a pleasant mustiness — think dusty leather tomes in a dark library. Sweet spices come to the fore, primarily a faint note of cinnamon. A splash of water tempered the sherry elements and revealed Amaretto, Scots pine and dried pine needles, and faint, dry oak.

Palate

The sherry character is forward with more red berries, tinned fruit, and bitter dark chocolate. The second wave is tangy, dry oak with white pepper, maraschino cherry, and a lance of spicy ginger. As with the nose, water brings out the secondary flavors: Dry sherry, an herb reminiscent of oregano, more parched oak, and a veneer of copper.

Finish

Big, blooming, tongue-coating, like an arrow down my esophagus. The warmth retreats to reveal citrus on sheet metal, salt, and a lasting moreish pucker that calls for another dram.

Overall, the Benromach 10 is a delicious whisky I will always seeks to have on my shelf. It is among the most well-balanced drams I’ve tasted, mixing the characters of bourbon, sherry, and peated (a rarity for Speyside) whiskies into a beautiful liquid tapestry. Beyond the fact that Benromach 10 is an exceptionally well-made whisky, it’s also an excellent value at around $50 in most parts. Do yourself a favor next time you’re out and keep your eyes peeled for Benromach 10. Give it a shot (but don’t shoot it).

Disclosure: The Benromach Distillery Company provided me this sample of Benromach 10. All thoughts and opinions expressed here, as always, are my own.


Tom MooreNo Gravatar March 11, 2016 at 2:33 PM

My favorite dram right now is the Laphroig Quarter Cask(bought for me by my lovely & talented wife), How dies the Benromach 10 compare?

Thanks in advance

Tom

Keith SavageNo Gravatar March 11, 2016 at 3:28 PM

Hi Tom,

The Laphroaig Quarter Cask is a nice dram that’s much peatier with a strong maritime character absent from the Benromach 10. The Quarter Cask lacks the suite of sherry flavors you’ll find in the Benromach 10 as well.

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