Origin: Speyside (Scotland)
Type: Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Ageing barrels: American Virgin Oak
Added coloring: No
Owner: Gordon & MacPhail
Average price: € 71.00
Official website: www.benromach.com
I won’t hide it, I have a soft spot for Benromach.
It was one of the first whiskies I ever tasted (the first ever was Lagavulin 16), and I remember drinking this bottling, kindly offered to me by a pub owner, delighted to have found an enthusiastic neophyte.
A small distillery with a pioneering spirit that isn’t afraid to experiment with its barrels, often being the first to launch into more or less successful experiments, Benromach has a decidedly innovative profile that, personally, is very likeable.
Everyone has their own weakness…
And what could be more experimental than creating an organic whisky?
From the barley to the wood used in the ageing barrels (made from sustainably farmed American oak), the whole process is subject to the strict control of the British Soil Association, which doesnt give ORGANIC certification to just anyone.
Of course, the ORGANIC label is often abused, slipped in everywhere without really making sense (like supermarket orange juice made with organic oranges), and is ultimately little more than marketing, but one wonders how much of a difference it can make in such a complex and stratified process as whisky production.
More interesting than the ORGANIC certification is the use of virgin American wood barrels, something more unique than rare in Scotch: will this really make a difference?
The one in question is a bottle from the first bottling in 2006, which was followed by others with different packaging more in line with the contemporary design of the Benromach: at the bottom you will find links to reviews of these other versions.
The colour is dark amber, very rich.
The perfume is very sweet, almost cloying (at times reminiscent of a Bourbon), and even if you let it breathe it doesn’t give way: vanilla in profusion, caramel, a hint of citrus. The wood is also very present (a bit like smelling the beads of a newly renovated mountain cabin): the ageing time isnt known (it’s said to be between 5 and 6 years), but the youthfulness of both the whisky and the wood is well present. On the length, some banana also pops up.
The scent of wood remains strong on the palate, like drinking an extract of shavings, softened by the sweet (almost biscuity) and fruity side. Not very incisive and a little boring, without any particular sparkle.
The finish remains sweetish with a hint of bitterness, not very long.
This is not a very successful experiment, where I doubt that the Organic profile has any influence, while the virgin barrels are very noticeable. Clearly it’s a matter of personal taste, some may like the profile of this Benromach very much, but personally I’m quite indifferent: there’s worse, but there’s also much better.
A Tasty Dram