Benromach is high on my list of favourite distilleries. As owners Gordon & MacPhail don’t sell casks to brokers, there are rarely independent bottlings (not counting a few undisclosed releases). Luckily the distillery is fairly active, semi-regularly releasing single casks in partnership with distributors or retailers.
Not a single cask but rather a small batch release is the Benromach 2009 11 Years I’m reviewing today, which was put together exclusively for the German market. It was made in conjunction with German importer Schlumberger. Their sales director Andrea Caminneci (who once ran C&S Drams) picked the four first-fill ex bourbon casks that make up this bottling. It is reduced to 48 percent which seems rather a perfect strength to me.
Benromach 2009 11 Years (48%, OB, Germany Exclusive)
Nose: Lovely fruity arrival, like walking in an orchard while there’s a bonfire somewhere in the distance. Apples, quinces and butter, accompanied by subtle notes of lemon zest. Touches of burlap as well, followed by a gentle minerality and melon skin. Taste: Surprisingly, a somewhat thin mouthfeel. Or at least relatively to what I’m used from Benromach. Sweet and fruity combined with smoke and ashes. Creamy vanilla, lemon pith and a touch of pineapple. Some damp oak and ginger as well, with some light floral touches. Finish: Greener notes, vegetal at times. Lingering smoke.
Good but not great. I find young-ish first-fill bourbon Benromach (mostly single casks) more aggressive, but also more characterful. That's likely because they were bottled at cask strength, so maybe the reduction wasn't such a good idea after all? So, the Benromach 2009 11 Years for Germany is a fine offering, but doesn't live up to my expectations entirely.