BTC 2014 Sample 5

BTC Sample 5: Benromach 10yo 43%

Last night separated the men from the boys (and the women from the girls, I suppose), with almost the entire top 10 of the leaderboard sprinting off into the wild blue yonder and leaving those less fortunate (yes, that includes yours truly) in their dust. Tonight it’s peat again, but hidden and supported by sherry tones.

I can’t really be mad that I got last night’s sample wrong, since I’ve only ever had 1 or 2 Ledaigs in my life and those were at Maltstock, where your concentration tends to flag a little (or a lot, depending on how far along the day is and whether there’s a 45-minute line for the food). At least I noticed it to be young, I suppose. My battle-proven bubble-test for ABV was a good 2% off though (which I made worse by picking a specific bottle with an even lower ABV), so that was kind of a bummer. Today, I say, is a new day, yay!

The nose starts off nutty, with some sour sherry notes and the merest hint of smoke (which builds as the dram sits in the glass). There’s apricot (seems to appear in a lot of my notes recently, though I don’t remember eating any recently), prunes, a little oak and a spirity nosefeel. After a while in the glass, the whisky changes rather dramatically (perhaps a finish?), with more ex-bourbony notes coming to the fore: toffee, fudge and vanilla. In between, I get fleeting whiffs of “spring flowers” toilet air freshener (the unapologetically chemical kind).

In the taste, there’s once more sherry to start with, quite dark flavours in fact with cherry, dark chocolate and espresso coffee. There’s also an incongruent vegetal note and some bitter burnt nuts. It exhibits more smoke here than on the nose, but like the nose it reveals itself more and more over time, even becoming a fairly dominant taste later on. In with the smoke are black pepper and cinnamon. As it happens with the nose, so does the taste become a lot less sherried over time, gaining ex-bourbony notes, honey among them. The finish is quite long with the aroma of sweet licorice, aniseed and tobacco.

Overall, this is a changeable dram. Not very old (around 10, I’d say), and probably finished in a sherry cask. It feels slightly engineered and could use a slightly higher strength, but I do like it (edit, about 30 minutes later: it’s definitely growing on me, becoming more characterful). Distilleries that came to mind were Ardmore, Benromach, BenRiach and Tomatin (With their Cu Bocan brand). In the end, it was kind of a toss-up between Benromach and BenRiach for me. Since I like Benromach as a company, I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt (knowing that if it is BenRiach, it’ll only cost me 20 points).

My guess: Benromach, Speyside, 10yo, 46% (yes, I know the 10yo is 43, hedging my bets slightly here :) ).
My score: 85/100

What it turned out to be:

Benromach 10yo (whiskybase)
Bottled 2014
ABV: 43.0%
Bourbon & Sherry casks, finished in Oloroso

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