...where distraction is the main attraction.

Monday, November 6, 2023

Benromach 2007 Cask Strength, Batch 1

(Benromach cluster homepage)

Five years and a dozen batches late, I'm finally trying a Benromach Vintage Cask Strength whisky. Before this today, I'd thought that these batches were numbered sequentially like Laphroaig's CSes, but actually there's more to it. The distillery is releasing them by vintage, and there are batches within the vintage:

2007: 1 batch, 2018 release
2008: 2 batches, 2018 and 2019 releases
2009: 4 batches, 2019 and 2020 releases
2010: 1 batch, 2021 release
2011: 0 batches
2012: 3 batches, 2022 release
2013: 1 batch, 2023 release

They are 57%-60%abv, and a mix of 30 or fewer first-fill sherry and bourbon casks. That very first batch, the 2007, may be the only one released with a 750mL release, and it's the one I'm reviewing today.

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

Age: 10-11 years (2007-2018)
Maturation: first-fill bourbon and sherry casks
Outturn: ????
Alcohol by Volume: 58.2%
Chillfiltered? No
e150a? No
(from a bottle split)


The nose has a nice mix of coastal peat up front and wood smoke in the back. Almonds, toffee, cocoa powder, dried blueberries, and prunes fill the middle. A smoky ham note appears, after 30+ minutes. Chocolate jelly rings, salt, and pepper lead the palate. Moderate smoke and toffee pudding arrive next, with just a squeeze of lime in the background. It all gets sweeter and very peppery (cayenne) in the finish, and smoke turns sooty.

Not reducing it too much...

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

The nose simplifies to salt, smoke, and milk chocolate, with smaller notes of mercurochrome and charred BBQ bits. The palate gets sweeter and saltier, with specific notes of pineapple juice and smoky toffee pudding. Again, the smoke turns sootier in the finish, followed by a mix of salt, citrus, and milk chocolate.


Looking at my notes, I realize I have no strong feelings about this whisky, other than it's solid B-grade stuff. The sherry casks have more influence than the ex-bourbon vessels, but the spirit still lives on. It never gets too sweet nor too oaky. The peat works best in the nose, and the finish is quite nice. Brands/distilleries usually start off a range with a killer batch to get the market hooked, but this whisky is merely very good. That's not a complaint, but I hope this isn't peak Benromach Cask Strength because this distillery is capable of delivering excellent whisky.

Availability - Sold through
Pricing - less than $100?
Rating - 85