Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Review - Benromach Triple Distilled

This is an innovative new whisky from the small Speyside distillery of Benromach. Most whisky in Scotland is normally distilled just twice and this is the first triple distilled spirit released by Benromach. The spirit used to create this whisky was distilled once through a wash still and twice through a spirit still, and all used for this first batch was distilled in 2009. This has been matured in first fill ex-bourbon barrels and then bottled at 50% ABV. There will be just 7,800 bottles of Benromach Triple Distilled. They will be available via selected specialist retailers in Europe and the UK with a recommended price of £45 each.

Benromach is one of the smallest distilleries operating in the Speyside region and was one of the last designed by the renowned Victorian distillery architect Charles Doig, opening in 1898. It is located on the outskirts of the town of Forres and was originally called Forres Distillery, built next to the new Aberdeen-Inverness railway line.The distillery only became known as Benromach in 1919, taking the name from the nearby Romach Hills, and is currently owned by independent bottling company Gordon & MacPhail. They renovated Benromach after a period of closure and re-opened it in 1998, a century after it was built. The current annual production is 500,000 litres.

“We handcraft all our whiskies, giving us flexibility to experiment with different distilling and maturation techniques and our new Triple Distilled is testament to this.” 
Keith Cruikshank - Distillery Manager at Benromach.

Our tasting notes
The colour is a pale gold and the nose is light, delicate and fresh. The predominant aroma is of fresh green pears, along with some honey and vanilla. Then comes lemon zest, icing sugar and a hint of earthy malted cereals and dried hay. There is the faintest delicate peat smoke also detected but it remains understated.

On the palate this whisky is again light, delicate and fresh. The spirit has a slightly oily character but the flavour profile is very understated. An early note of lemon zest gives way to honey and vanilla. These are joined by elements of crisp green orchard fruit - think of slightly under ripe pear and apple - and some delicate warming wood spices, especially cinnamon and a pinch of ginger powder. Underneath is a distinct earthy malty note that is most reminiscent of toasted oats and a subdued soft peat smoke. Late hints of white chocolate, dried peach and cocoa powder round things off.

The finish is short and this is not too surprising given the lightness of the whisky. The shortness maintains the element of freshness that runs throughout. The sweetness quickly fades to leave the zesty lemon and tangy green fruit notes toplay with the earthy spices and lingering background smoke.

What's the verdict?
The Benromach Triple Distilled is one of the lightest and freshest whiskies that we have sampled for a long time. It is delicious and refreshing but maintains enough characteristic to remain interesting throughout. The triple distillation has reduced Benromach's trademark robustness and its aromatic peat smoke.

This feels like a 'beginner's guide to Benromach' or 'Benromach Light'. It is great to see such experimentation and versatility coming out of such a small distillery. Benromach has long been know for this, especially with some of their innovative cask types used in maturation, and this is anothr string to their bow. What will be next?

No comments: