Benromach 2008 (bottled for van Wees)

Review 2017-018 «Specifics» Single malt • Vintage 2008 • Bottled in 2016 • 60.3% Alcohol • Matured for 8 years in a first fill bourbon cask (#333) • Non-chill filtered • Natural coloured • Sourced from Benromach (owned by Gordon & MacPhail) • Forres • Morayshire • Speyside • Scotland • Limited availability (248 bottles) • Sold out (price was ±€69) • Whiskybase #89068

STORY. We have here an exclusive vintage bottling of the Speyside distillery of Benromach from 2008 for the Dutch whisky specialist van Wees. Fully matured in a first fill bourbon cask, it is different from the standard bottlings that we have seen so far, which have predominantly been influenced by sherry cask maturation. Benromach was founded in 1898 near Forres in Morayshire, where it produced, albeit with some pauses, until 1983 when it was officially closed. Independent Scottish bottlers Gordon & MacPhail took over in 1993, and after some rebuilding production restarted in 1997. Nowadays the distillery produces between 150,000 and 250,000 litres of whisky, and has won several prices with their standard range of releases. The renewed distillery has more than once been praised for their old-school and distinctive character, which some think is a rare feature these days.


APPEARANCE. Modern and distinctive design, colour of the contents is light golden and is bourbon coloured.

NOSE. We have a pungent arrival with a strong sense of alcohol (well, it is 60.3%), and the bourbon cask influence shows a straightforward presence with spicy honey and sour unripe fruits. There is a distant sweetness with some vanilla, caramel, fudge and unripe bananas. (water) Now we are at the farm with scents of hay, silage, cows, and freshly plowed fields, before we walk again through the orchard in early summer. A hint of smoke in the background.

TASTE. This is sharp and sour. We have fresh apples (Granny Smith), yellow plums (mirabelles) and lemons. Then there is lots of fresh bourbon wood seasoned with white pepper. (water) We are back at the farm, right in the haymaking season, walking behind the haymaker that spews some hay right in your face. The neighbouring farmer is also burning some hay in the distance. In addition there is vanilla, pepper, and citrus sweets in the finish.

VERDICT. This release shows a different side of Benromach. Not the sherried smokiness, we have come to expect from heir standard 10- and 15-year old, but the more sour yellow fruity farm-feeling. Interesting, but it is missing some balance in the sour versus sweet compartment. So perhaps next time a refill bourbon cask?

Recommended for people who long for the countryside to eat sour yellow fruits in the orchards.

Sample was purchased at

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