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Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Benromach 8 year old 2008, cask 333 for Van Wees

On Monday, I reviewed a "crisp", "lean" (is someone trying not to say "austere"?) nine year old full strength Benromach. It was quite good but was limited by its youth. In order to produce my official notes, I tried it side-wby-side with a similar Benromach.

Like Monday's whisky, this one is all first-fill bourbon barrel and was bottled right near 60%abv. There were a number (the number being near twelve) of these 2008 single 1st fill ex-bourbon casks distributed around Europe in over the past year. This specific cask (#333) was bottled for the good Dutch folks of Van Wees. The van Weeses (van Wii?) have, historically, done a damn good job picking casks for their independent releases. But they've plopped a startling number of super-young single casks on the market recently. I've found a number of those to be half-baked. Will this eight year old official Benromach have that same issue, or did they find a honey cask?



Distillery: Benromach
Ownership: Gordon & MacPhail
Region: Speyside (Findhorn)





Age: 8 years (2008 to 2016)
Maturation: first-fill bourbon barrel
Cask #: 333
Alcohol by Volume: 60.3%
Chillfiltered? No
Caramel Colorant? No
(from a purchased sample)

NEAT
Wow. Mango, honeydew, lemon zest and pine on the nose. A cow barn on a hot day. Hints of band-aids, caramel sauce and some bright American oak. Those fruits show up in the palate, too. Some tart limes roll in. Copper, minerals, ash and roasted barley. Just a pinch of cocoa powder. Very drinkable for the ABV. Its finish is sweet, citric and very long. Like a juice of barley sugar, limes and fresh ginger.

DILUTED TO ~43%abv
The barn note recedes in the nose, being replaced by a coastal-ness somewhere between the styles of Kilchoman and Talisker. Lots of lemon zest and apple cider. Rich oak and honey. The farm returns with a vengeance in the palate. The cows come home, if you will. Then there's mild mossy peat, charred bell pepper skin, minerals, tart limes and chocolate. Moderate sweets and smoke in the finish. Lots of barley. Peppery, with perky bitterness.

WORDS WORDS WORDS
Yep, they picked a killer cask. Its fruitiness shocked me, blasting away my assumption of "austerity". The minerals and barley are still there, but they're boosted by the fruits and cow patties. It also takes water very well, turning into another very good whisky experience.

What a pleasure. It makes me want to run around Benromach's warehouses testing out casks. What else are you hiding in there, fellas?

Availability - The Nether Regions
Pricing - around €70 w/ VAT
Rating - 90 (p.s. I tried this whisky again, by itself, the following night. The excellence was confirmed.)

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