In mid-2020, Benromach unveiled its new corporate identity and bottle design. Much to the surprise of the global dramming community, the distillery completely abandoned its previous artisan look and feel. Instead, they re-branded themselves with a bold, oldschool appearance. After a short period of uncertainty, I quickly became a fan of the new CI – and later also an outspoken advocate. Still, it took me almost half a year until the first (but certainly not last) red-and-white Benromach expression found its way into my collection. From up close, the optics and the haptic of the whisky are especially impressive. There’s a ton of details and a lot of lore to be found on the heavy, custom-made bottle! One thing, however, has not changed: The spirit inside is as great as ever! For my first real get-together with Benromach’s overhauled product, I picked an extra special release, namely a single cask 12 Years Old drawn from a 1st fill sherry hogshead. This particular bottling is exclusively available in Germany via the distillery’s local importer Schlumberger Spririts. And man, is it good! It is strong, it is dark, it is complex and it is challenging. It demands quite a bit from you, but rewards you all the more. Personally, I am absolutely loving it … and if you read on, you will find out why!
Eye: Somewhere between gold and bronze.
Nose: Spicy! At first, an oriental spice cloud enters my nostrils. Then, the aromas get heavier and thicker: wood, nuts, leather. Underneath, a modest sweetness unfolds. It takes the form of cocoa powder, caramel pudding and raisins. The smoke is woody; it reminds me of heavily charred timber. When I take a deeper sniff, I also get a delicate fruitiness from redcurrants and other slightly sour berries. A waxy “lit candles” note rounds the sublime nose off.
Palate: This oldschool Speyside scorcher is strong, heavy and very dry. It brims with intense flavors, offering – among others – dark berries, burnt cookies, roasted hazelnuts, worn leather, sugared coffee, dried oranges, crumbled toffee, clotted cream and wild strawberries. Plus a good amount of sulphur. The charred wood got even blacker in the meantime. It now feels almost carbonized. The high ABV produces an electrifying burn that sets the entire oral cavity aflame. Sure thing: This ain’t no easy sipper. If you master it, however, it will recompense you with an enormous complexity and a very exciting tapestry of tastes.
Finish: The aftertaste is very long and dark. I get more wood, coal and sulphur. Now, these notes are joint by a lot of licorice, an ounce of coffee ground and a spoonful of cranberry jelly. Left and right of these sensations, I find a variety of other relishes: plums and figs on the one hand, candle wax and parchment on the other. And some very dark chocolate (made from 80 per cent cocoa or more)!
Type: Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Region: Scotland (Speyside)
Age: 12 years old
Alc. volume: 57.7 per cent
Cask: 1st fill sherry hogshead
Bottle size: 0.7 litres
# of bottles: 292
Price: 95.00 Euro
More info: https://www.benromach.com/ (Distillery) ; https://www.schlumberger.de/ (Importer)
*** I bought the bottle as a regular customer.***