Benromach Triple Distilled

A few months ago I was lucky enough to be selected for another tweet tasting, hosted by Steve Rush from the Whisky Wire. It was a Benromach new release tasting, which, as soon as I learnt this, I had to apply for. I’ve always had a love of Benromach so being able to try these new releases was a real treat. In the tasting we were given the chance to try two new expressions. One was a triple distilled edition, while the second was the latest in their wood finish series, finished in Chateau Cissac cask (which you can check out here). In this review I will be taking a look at the new triple distilled release.

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I must say that I was really looking forward to this. I love Benromach and have tried many of their variations, mostly based on maturation, so trying a release that has been created using a change to the process will be interesting to see what difference this has made. The new triple distilled edition of Benromach has been matured in first fill bourbon barrels for its whole life. It is a NAS edition, though it does have a vintage marked on it as being distilled in 2009 and bottled in 2017, so around 7/8 years in age. It is a limited release of around 1,300 cases and presented at 50% ABV, all for around the £45 price mark.

Nose

There is a note that I have always associated with Benromach’s on the nose, other than the classic dry peat smoke, I find they always have this acetone/pear drop like character which I couldn’t get with is dram. I found it to be surprisingly heavy feeling on the nose to start with, with a fatty almond butter note, as well as toasted coconut and soft nutmeg. There is also plenty of fruitiness, though it isn’t fresh fruit, more like fruit jams, apricot and cherry. The almonds and the jams mingle together giving an almost Battenburg cake aroma which is just gorgeous! It gets sweeter with time with icing sugar and sweet American oak spice. Poached pear served up with a creamy vanilla custard emerges and then at the last we are left eating after eight mints with strong milky tea.

Palate

The classic dry smoke of Benromach is far more prominent on the palate, likely softened on the nose with the third distillation process, though the pear drop character I usually get still seems to be absent. Hugely sweet on the palate for me which masks the strength of this dram, I cannot believe it is 50% ABV! I think this is a great strength for this dram, the higher ABV carries a lot of the flavour through the glass. Lots of vanilla, nutmeg and cinnamon coming through to start with as well as dried apple rings and citrus peel. Quite a strong presence of tannins but more delicate notes of lemon grass and milky porridge manage to push through.

Finish

Many of the flavours from the palate continue on here, especially the more fruit lead tastes. The finish is quite short, but is fresh and light, making you want to have another sip.

Another fantastic addition to the Benromach portfolio in my opinion, and I hope this is a style that we will see more of in the future. Generally, I am not a huge fan of triple distilled whisky; I prefer a more robust showing of distillery character which can often be lost with further distillations. This, however, is very enjoyable. It is a more refined and ‘crisp’ presentation of Benromach, and the peat smoke comes across as very fresh and clean. Definitely a dram worth looking out for.

Sláinte

Gary

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Tamdhu Batch Strength II

Today I will be reviewing a dram from what has become one of my, and many others, favourite distilleries, Tamdhu. Tamdhu has grown to great fame in the last few years since it came under the control of Ian Macleod Distillers. The distillery was mothballed in 2010 and Ian Macleod Distillers brought it back to life in 2012 by recommencing production, and launching their first bottling, a 10 year old, the following year.

What we are looking at today is their Batch strength version, a non age-stated dram presented at natural cask strength and colour. This batch, batch 2, comes in at an impressive 58.5% and is incredibly drinkable even at that strength. Matured exclusively in ex-sherry casks this is a powerful dram with a huge amount of flavour and character, and was the winner of the 2017 Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festivals NAS category. If you like your cask strength sherry bombs like the Aberlour A’Bunadh’s, Glendronach CS or Glenfarclas 105 then look no further than this!

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I have enjoyed a few of these over the festive period and thought it was past time that I wrote a review on this one before the bottle is completely empty!

Nose

This is a hugely sweet and fruity dram. You can smell fudge, red apple and pears before your nose even gets near the glass! Once you stick your nose in the high alcohol makes itself known, a whopping 58.5%, though, as strong as it is, the massive sweetness easily counteracts this. Once you get past the intense sweetness and power of this it just screams complexity, it’s very interesting and changeable. There’s floral sweetness with honeysuckle and heather one minute with dried apple rings and citrus peel. Then the next, vanilla ice cream, syrup sponge pudding and cinnamon. Then builders’ tea, coffee and dark chocolate, incredible. With time the apples become more stewed and are joined by raisins and red berries. More savoury notes start to emerge with pecans and toasted soda bread. If I had to sum the nose up with two things, cinnamon and toffee baked apples and pecan pie. What a nose!

Palate

The first thing you will get when you try this dram is how silky it is on the palate. I had to take a second look at the label when I first tried it as I couldn’t believe it was 58.5%! It is nowhere near as sweet and fruity as the nose but it is rich and creamy. The palate begins with an intense wood and spice assault, with nutmeg, garam masala and pepper. The alcohol begins to build through the development, overpowering the spice, and is joined by fizzy wood tannins. Water opens up the palate severely and drives more sweet and fruity notes forward with the stewed apples from the nose and dried currants. As well as a creamy butterscotch and earthy manuka honey-like character.

Finish

Long, warming, and packed with spice. This dram is like central heating, you can just feel the warmth in you from the spice and alcohol. Heavily toasted malt, red apple peel and golden syrup compete against a plethora of savoury and woody spices. Again, garam masala but nutmeg and black pepper also.

This dram is simply a knock out and it has made this a very good festive period indeed. My bottle is now almost done but hopefully I can get a second ordered before the batch is fully sold out. For £55-60 you can’t go wrong with this, and I am really struggling to find any faults. If I get a second bottle of this it will be an investment bottle. By that I don’t mean buy it and sell it on later, that’s not what whisky is about. I mean buy it, keep it safe, and invest in a very enjoyable experience with good friends in the years to come when I crack it open – you’ve got to treat your future self. Gorgeous!

Sláinte

Gary