I went into this whisky with a mixed group of feelings.
It was part of a higher-end tasting I missed. Knowing some of the other people at it (and what they drink and their ability to drink good things), I had high expectations.
On the other hand, it’s a Benromach. Sure, it’s Benromach 39 1968 Sherry Cask, a distillery exclusive that I’ve at least heard about, but it’s Benromach. I’m not too crazy over Benromach. Not for any hatred, just… you know, Benromach. We’re just acquaintances. Not buds.
And there were other pretty epic drams as part of the tasting. Ones I’ve posted, ones I’ll be posting. Suffice to say it was part of the package deal.
So this was aged just shy of four decades in a sherry cask. How does it taste? Let’s see, shall we?
Price: Hard to find, but the best I could get was €500, which seems really low.
Cask type: Sherry Cask
Colour: 2.5YR 1/2
Nose: Mango salad, sandalwood, mint jelly, hot cross buns, strawberry jam
Tropical, vegetal, spicy, woody… man, this has a ton of layers. I write a note, then another, then scratch those out and combine them, then combine some others. The complexity here is at North American tax levels. Low strength but strong, sherry and wood driven notes.
Taste: Orange Madeleine, cinnamon pastry, fresh pineapple, pears that were soaked in Champagne (think a rich balance of dry and strong pears that have a supercharged flavour), medium roast coffee (roasted notes, fruits, acid)
I mean, look at the number of parentheses, I sat and was confounded, happily, by this dram. Buttery, strong, acidic, cakey, dry, complex… Hard to really pin down, like nailing gelatin to the wall. When you’re drunk. And driving down the highway.
That’s dangerous, don’t do that.
If I had to, I’d say there was a well-developed acidity here that tied it all together, but really that’s just me throwing stones in the dark.
Finish: Fireplace fire after being out in the snow, pear tart, dark chocolate (think super dark), plum pudding, saltines, espresso
Long finish. Lovely dry, tart notes, sweetness, and some charcoal/ash/heat that’s dialled right into parts of my brain I forgot about.
Also fuck winter camping.
Conclusion: Epic. Truly fun, amazing, balanced. I came into this with a “meh, Benromach” feeling and came away saying “Well if this isn’t the best Benromach, I gotta find that Unicorn too”. There’s something here for all whisky fans: Complexity, concrete flavours that all mesh well, sherry boldness that you just don’t get at all these days, and even some elements that you hunt down in older peated whiskies. (EDIT: A friend has mentioned it was most likely peated).
This was my whisky of last year (yeah, I’m behind) and yes this was amazing. Try it if you ever get the chance.
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