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Friday, November 17, 2023

Benromach 35 year old

(Benromach cluster homepage)

After surveying newer young bottlings, and hoping dearly that the distillery doesn't screw up a great thing with too heavy of a reliance on active casks, I'm closing the cluster with generously aged Benromach, bottled by the current owners, but distilled by the previous regime. In the few, rare instances wherein I've sampled United Distillers-era Benromach, the spirit has read lighter and fruitier than G&M's version. And, to be honest, I've usually preferred the current heavier, peatier style. But I've never had 35-year-old Benromach. Until now.

Distillery: Benromach
Ownership: Gordon & MacPhail
Ownership at time of distillation: United Distillers
Region: Speyside (Findhorn)
Age: 35 years
Maturation: first-fill sherry casks
Bottled: 17 Sept 2015
Outturn: ????
Alcohol by Volume: 43%
(from a bottle split)


Plums. Plums on the nose. REALLY good plums (that were in the icebox). Orange marmalade, almond butter, and nocino. Roses and dunnage. Balsamic vinegar and a hint of industrial funk.

The lightly sweet palate tilts more towards apricots and tart oranges. Little bits of dunnage and menthol. Pipe tobacco. A brisk herbal bitterness appears at the 45-minute mark, while the oranges and menthol combine and magnify.

It finishes with a pretty balance of soft sweetness and tartness. Oranges and apricot jam; hints of almonds and menthol.


At 35 years, the UD distillate flaunts lovely bright fruits with flickers of darkness in the background. But 43%abv? G&M, why? So you could squeeze a couple dozen more bottles out of those casks?

It's still great whisky, but the palate has a slight thinness in its texture that feels like it's been chillfiltered or (surprise!) over-diluted. My goodness, what this whisky could have been...

I'll end this on a positive note. The oak was present but I liked what it contributed, and it never took away from the stone fruits. If you have a bottle, you may find that its whisky works best in springtime. Enjoy, indulge, and share!

Availability - a few bottles may remain in the primary market, more in the secondary
Pricing - anywhere from $750 to $1500
Rating - 89

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