...where distraction is the main attraction.

Friday, November 10, 2023

Things I Really Drink: Benromach 10 year old 2011 Polish Oak, cask 772

(Benromach cluster homepage)

I bought this. I don't like this. Everything else is just words.

And here are the words.

Cask 772 caught my eye because one doesn't see "Polish Oak" being touted on a whisky's label often, or ever. The thought of delicious Benromach spirit aging in a unique cask was very appealing. What all of the packaging's labels, official notes, and press releases leave out is the fact that this cask was soaked in "fortified wine".

The bottle's first pours were shared with friends, and I found the whisky to be quite tannic but interesting. Each subsequent pour (on separate nights) sunk further in my esteem. Liqueur sweet, the whisky had been suffocated not by Polish oak, but the "fortified wine". Since so much effort is put into celebrating the damned tree the cask was fashioned from, why could the distillery just toast the oak, not dress it up, and then apply the spirit? This is the first time I've been disappointed by Benromach, not just by one of their whiskies, but the distillery itself. If the cask ain't naked, then disclose its drapery.

I'm not looking forward to doing the tasting for this review, but here I go.

Distillery: Benromach
Ownership: Gordon & MacPhail
Region: Speyside (Findhorn)
Range: Single Cask Edition

Age: 10 years (21 November 2011 - 31 October 2022)
Maturation: first-fill Polish oak aggressively seasoned with unknown fortified wine
Cask: 772
Outturn: 263 bottles
Alcohol by Volume: 58.6%
(one-third of the way down the bottle)


Nose — First: Luxardo syrup, Chambord, and Creme de Cassis. Then: Mint extract, eucalyptus, and hazelnuts. Finally: Vanilla and apricots.

Palate — A weird cocktail of tawny port, blueberry syrup, and cherry popsicles strikes first, followed by leather, metal, and peppercorns. Maybe some dusty smoke in the far back.

Finish — A different ill-advised cocktail here: cherry liqueur, Cointreau, Angostura bitters, and Creme de Cassis, with cinnamon stick garnish.

DILUTED to 50%abv, or 1 tsp of water per 30mL whisky

Nose — Raspberry jam, roses, and orange pixy stix. No peat, but a sizable dose of perfume.

Palate — Very metallic and sugary. Acidic. Angostura bitters and menthol in the background.

Finish — Luxardo syrup, cayenne, and menthol.


I would have been happy with a uniquely weird whisky. But this is just another spirit annihilated by its cask's former (or not-so-former) contents. Maybe it'd be interesting if thickened and drizzled on vanilla ice cream, but that's not what I was led to believe this product was.

As you can see in Whiskybase, some people enjoy this style of whisky. Those folks would probably not enjoy most of my reviews, but I am glad this whisky found happy homes. From now on I'll stick to standard Benromach, the sort of stuff that will populate Monday's review...

Availability - still for sale at some UK shops
Pricing - a little over $100 (w/shipping)
Rating - 71 (the nose keeps it out of the 60s)

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