When Gordon & MacPhail finally finished refurbishing Benromach in 1998, they had basically created an entire new distillery. The old buildings were used, but almost all equipment was brand spanking new.
Benromach from before 1983, when the distillery was shut down, is basically whisky from a lost distillery. Nobody regards it as such, which I totally get, but still, I think my reasoning makes sense, no? And if you don’t, just indulge me 🙂
The Benromach I review today is 25 years of age, and has spent all of that time in refill sherry casks. Come to think of it, I guess it is interesting to mention this is a vatting of four different casks. At close to 60 percent, the alcohol percentage is at a very respectable strength.
Benromach 1981 25 Years Old (58,1%, OB, 2007)
Nose: Quite prickly, as the alcohol is fairly noticeable, which is something that seems more or less common in these early 80s Benromach. But give it some time and this transforms into a layered whisky with plenty of subtleties. Rich notes of red dried fruits. furniture polish and leather, as well as stewed apples, freshly cut red apples, pear skin and peach. Taste: Thick and syrupy, but with a bite. Lots of leather and cigar tobacco, and those two go hand-in-hand with black pepper, menthol and cardamom. A hint of raisins, but otherwise this is lacking a fruity layer. Adding water get rids of the bite, but makes it a little dry. Finish: Drying, with menthol and leather.
Lots of fruit on the nose, which is great, but don’t expect an abundance of it like in a typical Lochside 1981 or Tomatin 1976. Less exotic too. The palate turned out to be a tad disappointing. Although I like the flavour profile, it did lack in terms of fruitiness. I need a little more…