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Wednesday, November 1, 2023

Benromach Traditional

(Benromach cluster homepage)

Like all new distilleries, Benromach released young whisky in order to start generating some revenue from its own product. Unlike today's new distilleries, G&M did not push barely-legal 3 year old malt into the market, they waited until the 5-6yo range (much as Glengyle/Kilkerran would a few years later). It was diluted down to 40%abv, but it sold for $30ish, so a buyer's outlay wasn't too risky. It went by the name "Traditional" from 2004 to early 2014, and then gained a bold 5-year-old age statement through 2015.

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

Age: NAS
Maturation: first-fill bourbon and sherry casks
Alcohol by Volume: 40%
Chillfiltered? Yes
e150a? possibly not
(from a bottle split)


Barley-loaded new make forms the nose's base, with peated mint candies, cardamom, and orange creamsicles on top. It slowly takes on notes of denim and boat docks. Orange candy and sooty smoke (or orange smoke and sooty candy?) arrive first in the palate, followed by soil and lemons. Unfortunately it feels thin and watery in the mouth. It finishes with sooty lemonade, mint leaf, and a little bit of metal.


I'll start with the positives. This is very good for its age, and will certainly appeal to those of us who prefer as little oak as possible in our whiskies. One really gets a sense of Benromach's spirit here, which offers a combination of citrus and smoke that shows up in other great malts like Ardmore, Caol Ila, and Longrow. The 40%abv is the problem. Perhaps G&M thought the spirit would be too rough at 43% or 46%, or they were trying to stretch their product into as many bottles as possible.

The owners discontinued this bottling eight years ago. If they ever decide to bring it back, I hope they follow Ardbeg's lead (something I almost never advise) and bottle their baby whisky at 46%abv or higher. Let it shine!

Availability - Maybe in random stores somewhere in Europe?
Pricing - $30-$40 back in 2015
Rating - 81

1 comment:

  1. Great review, I loving everything Benromach. just found a place that has a couple of bottles of this left in the US still priced at $32. it would be great if they brought this back at 46% ...maybe even 43%. They could even call it Benromach 5 which i think people would accept now judging from Wee Beastie's popularity.