Review: Benromach 35 Years Old

Category: Speyside single malt scotch whisky

Origin: Benromach Distillery

Bottling: Official – Gordon & Macphail

ABV: 43%

Cost: £419.95 from Master of Malt

benromach-35-year-old-whisky

What they say:

Handcrafted using the finest natural ingredients at the Forres distillery, Benromach 35 Years Old is an exceptional whisky with real heritage and an original tale or two, having been laid down to mature in the 1980’s.

Golden amber in colour, Benromach 35 Years Old (ABV 43%) is a most satisfying Speysider with cinnamon hints and beeswax polish, stewed pear and a delicate charred Oak edge.

The bespoke decanter style bottle protecting the precious whisky is encased within a wooden presentation box, reflecting the various elements which have gone into making the whisky; the copper stills, the dark, grained wood of the original washbacks, and the white of the limewashed distillery walls.

This rare whisky, dating back to a time before Benromach was restored in the ‘90s, exudes the heritage of the Speyside distillery. Created under the watchful eye of Donald MacDonald, former Distillery Manager, the casks this whisky was matured in have long been a part of the Benromach history. Willie McArthur, former malt man and warehouseman, was one of the workers responsible for protecting the precious casks remaining in the bonded warehouses.

Benromach Distillery Manager Keith Cruickshank said:

“Benromach 35 Years Old is a very special whisky for everyone at the distillery, as very few casks of Benromach remain from this time period.
“Benromach today is created respecting the traditional working practices of yesteryear and is lovingly handcrafted by sight, by sound, and by touch, using the finest natural ingredients.
“The 35 Years Old is the perfect dram to toast the past, present and future of Benromach.”

The beautiful golden amber hues of the 35 Years Old promise a satisfying, complex Speysider… and it generously fulfils its promise. Pour a dram and appreciate the AROMA WITHOUT WATER… the nose offers rich sherry influences with orange marmalade, kiwi and grapefruit aromas, complemented by gorgeous cinnamon spice. Now lift it to your lips and take a sip, enjoying the TASTE WITHOUT WATER. Initially, it is sweet on the palate with honey, fruitcake, ripe banana and melon flavours. Watch out for the smooth white chocolate edge as it develops, combined with a soft menthol note, giving a full body and long and smooth fruity finish. Now add a drop or two of water and notice the AROMA WITH WATER… sherry influences with honey, blackcurrant and beeswax polish aromas, complemented by a subtle hint of cloves. Now it’s time to savour the TASTE WITH WATER… a fabulous combination of white pepper followed by dried tobacco, dewy stewed pear, raisin and zesty orange peel flavours, heightened by a delicate edge of charred oak…the result of lingering for over three decades in oak casks.

Benromach 35 TW

What I say:

Big thanks to Tom at Toms Whisky Reviews for sharing his official sample from Benromach with me, delighted to have the opportunity to taste this pinnacle of their range.

Colour:

Old sauternes rubrous gold (11/20) thick oily legs

Nose:

Sweet and beech-smoked, warm orange and ginger marmalade spread over buttered toasted brown bread, fig jam, soft/well-worn leather, zesty orange peel spiced and preserved with ginger and cinnamon, gooseberry fool, white grape, lime foam, slightly tannic old tea chest and fragrant sandalwood

Taste:

Spiced up front with powdered cinnamon and freshly grated nutmeg, spiced black pepper and ginger both fresh root and pickled, softens into orange marmalade, red-wine poached pears, honey and beeswax before tannic tea and oak wood creep in, a touch of bitterness too like high % cocoa chocolate, musty dunnage warehouses, dusty malt barley flour, madeira cake, dried fruits; raisin and prunes, spun sugar or over-caramelised crème brulee topping, herbal clove, menthol and eucalyptus.

Finish:

Long, candy floss sweetness with spiced hints of cinnamon, tobacco leaf, clove and orange oil

Overall:

This expression is still surprisingly fresh considering its age. There is a depth of wood and fruit here belying its long time in a first fill sherry cask yet the orange oil tastes like it is fresh out of the zest! This is an old whisky that benefits time spent with it as it is smooth and subtle initially but reveals hidden depths. Far too drinkable for a whisky of this age! More please!!

Score: 91/100

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