Benromach from before 1983 is (as an avid reader of this blog will know) basically whisky from a closed distillery. Yes, I know, Benromach was reopened in 1998 by Gordon & MacPhail. But they were basically forced to gut the entire distillery, and replace all the equipment.
While doing that, they weren’t looking to restore the Benromach distillery of old. Actually, the people at Gordon & MacPhail had their own ideas about what whisky they wanted to create (an old school type hommage to the 1950s and 1960s Speyside style), and have succeeded admirably.
So while the name and the building has stayed the same, the heart and soul of Benromach has changed drastically. And that is, I believe, why you should make the distinction between pre- and post-1983 Benromach.
Benromach 1978 21 Years Old (58.1%, Scott’s Selection)
Nose: Gentle and probably not the most complex, yet well-integrated. Fruity. Melon, pear and white grapes, but there’s a thin layer of paraffin and menthol too. Taste: Good malty and sugary arrival, with some soft spices like pepper and cinnamon. A little Old Bottle Effect, slightly metallic. A hint of vanilla, as well as burlap, and even a whiff of menthol again. Surprisingly gentle given its high abv. Finish: Lingering oak and menthol, as well as leather and tobacco leaves. Medium in length.
Not completely what I hoped for. Definitely an older style whisky, but I’m not 100 percent sure this sample comes from a bottle that has always been stored in the right conditions.