Similar to its younger siblings in the distillery’s core range, the 15 Year Old expression from Benromach has been matured on site in the Speyside hills following a gentle peat smoke malting. The 15yo features an in-house blend of sherry and bourbon cask matured whiskies, with a higher proportion of sherry to bourbon components in the final vatting than the younger entrants to the range. As with every element of the process Benromach state that they seek to only use the highest quality elements when ‘handcrafting’ their whisky, which includes only using first fill casks for the maturation of their whiskies. The final product is presented at 43% ABV and represents the oldest readily available release within the core range – unless you’ve been luck enough to grab one of the 3,000 bottles of the 20 year old 20th Anniversary Bottling released in 2018!
Wow. This is so waxy. And that’s just from the smell of it. So much so, I’d go so far as to describe it as smelling like a sherry candle, should such a thing exist. It is surprisingly sweet too. It has a bit of that crème brulee flavour about it too with a nice vanilla sweetness and the smoke adding the burnt brown sugar topping to the dessert aroma. The sherry fruits are there too and a bit of time gives off a cola cube and California / Sun Maid raisin juiciness. Lots of notes coming out here.
Quite surprisingly, the initial flavours from the nose are instantly dismissed for an almost herby set of flavours to it (though far from tasting like a gin – we’re still talking whisky here), but there’s a definite mint kind of flavour amongst their signature apple flavours. There are some stronger flavours developing too, starting from grassy notes to a warmer cinnamon and chocolatey profile. There’s also a slight sourness to the taste. Like grapefruit or a sour vanilla (thanks to @swaledalebothy for that tasting note). In fact the last two seem to remind me of apples on the turn. That’s not a bad thing though, just like the start to a good cider.
Super oily and “smooth” – that waxy smell seems to translate into the finish and coating of the throat too.
There are an awful lot of tasting notes coming out of this little dram. I’m sure I could have spent a lot more time with a larger glassful of this too. The flavours just seemed to keep unfolding and merging with one another. I wasn’t too sure about the minty/menthol type flavours in there, but the vast array of desserts made up for the mid-consumption after dinner mint sensation, and there was a great balance between the sherry and bourbon influences. With a dash of water the oak of the casks actually become more prevalent. Overall this dram displayed a great depth of flavour and character and kept the fingers busy typing up that whole flurry of tasting notes!
Sample disclosure: This sample was received as part of a promotional tweet tasting evening hosted and curated by The Whisky Wire. All tasting notes are intended as an honest, independent review of the whisky.