Posts Tagged With: Single Malt Scotch Whisky

Tasting Notes: Benromach – Chateau Cissac

Benromach – Chateau Cissac

Speyside’s Benromach have been rapidly expanding their range of whiskies available in recent years, with a solid core range and then seasonal additional releases. One area that has particularly piqued whisky enthusiasts’ interests is their experimentation with different cask influences via their “Wood Finish” series within the “Contrasts” range – see notes on their Triple Distilled release here. This limited new release has been initially matured in ex-bourbon casks and “is finished for 25 months in hand-selected casks from the illustrious Château Cissac within the Appellation Haut-Médoc Contrôlée in South-western France” (to use their own words).

45%ABV

 

Nose

M; Bonfire smoke straight away. A lovely dry smoke & then followed by red fruits – the other way round to a usual smoky dram, when the smoke usually comes last. The smoke reminded me of that smoke you get in German smoked sausages or smoked cheese or any of the Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier range (but in whisky form, obviously).

 

Taste

M: It is smoke and fruit in equal parts upfront. Blood orange and oaked red wine.  The toasty smoke intensifies with the booze on the way down.

 

Finish

M: The red berries fade and the smoke peters out and leaves a drying red wine kind of finish.

 

Verdict

M: The more I’ve tried whiskies that have been stored in old red wine barrels, the more I’ve liked them and this is no exception. This is a really rich and fruity whisky that has been coupled with Benromach’s signature smoke, which seems to be more intense in this whisky than in others of theirs, which I guess must have been amplified by the wine casks. There were a lot of flavours at play here and this is definitely one for savouring over time, and definitely fits our current seasonal move into autumn. Sold by the spiel, I may also have to try and find some of the wine itself, but for now, I’ll stick to the whisky.

Benromach Tweet Tasting


PS Many thanks, as ever, to Steve Rush and Benromach for the @TweetTastings via @TheWhiskyWire for the samples and spreading the joy.

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Tasting Notes: Benromach – Triple Distilled

Benromach – Triple Distilled

Speyside’s Benromach have released some of my favourite whiskies of late. Their Organic release and their now flagship 10yo display a great balance of fruit, oak and smoke. When I had read that they were releasing a triple distilled edition, it left me wondering how the third distillation would affect the flavours and profile of their whisky, so I was thrilled to take part in the The Whisky Wire’s Tweet Tasting. The Triple Distilled release sits within Benromach’s “Contrasts” series of releases, which all see have been produced with a distinctive difference to at least one aspect of their standard whisky creation (including the different “Wood Finish” releases – which I will come onto in a later post). The Benromach Triple Distilled, and is available now for £45 RRP.

50% ABV

 

Nose

Very pure/clean. Barley upfront. Soft fruity smells – apricot & papaya. Vanilla and oak. All of these initial smells remind me of Kellogg’s Just Right. After a bit of time there’s a ginger smell and delicate smoky back. Lots going on here.


Taste

Delicious vanilla custard tart at first and then BOOM the 50% ABV (which the nose was not giving away at all) hits you. A few more sips to acclimatise and those vanilla and fruit flavours return.


Finish

It’s a boozy one to begin with and the sweetness fades first and leaves a delicate, classic Benromach smoke.


Verdict 

Given that this whisky was bottled at 50% ABV and has been triple distilled, then I was expecting it to resemble the distillery’s 100 Proof release with a more Irish whiskey finish. In general, the fellow tweet tasters thought that the extra distillation might have removed some of the distinctive character  that Benromach display, but for me, I thought that they had largely remained in tact but where their smoke finish had been taken away slightly, it had been replaced with with a smoother, softer finish. The nose, taste and finish all carried the fruity flavours across, whilst the alcohol, oak and smoke all had to take their turn. The nose really didn’t really let on that the whisky was at a relatively high alcohol percentage, but it soon made itself known one taste and finish, and as the booze burned away some of the more delicate fruity flavours it did let the smoky flavours reveal themselves towards the end. I don’t want to get too wrapped up in it, and too many things these days have a “journey”, but this was a really enjoyable dram that took me on bit of a boozy ride with lots of aspects and places of interest along the way.

 

M

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Happy Birthday Glen Moray!

Today sees Glen Moray distillery celebrate its 120th birthday, because on 13th September 1897 the little distillery based in Elgin made its first batch of new-make spirit. In order to join in on the celebrations, I’ve taken my two Dram Team miniatures and have done a side-by-side comparison of their cracking Elgin Heritage releases.

Glen Moray 12yo Elgin Heritage

12 Year Old Elgin Heritage

40% ABV


Nose

Light. Really light. It’s only got a gentle boozy tingle on the nose but seems quite perfumed – kinda like nail polish fumes, but in a good way?! If I had to pick one smell, then it would be barley. Pure and simple.

Taste

Light vanilla upfront. More of the same barley flavours from the nose. Light oak/barrel influence toward the end.

Finish

Over and done with pretty quickly, leaving a warming, vanilla taste. Simple and effective! 

Verdict

Very simple. Very easy drinking. Maybe too simple and too easy drinking if you’re after a whisky for savouring. The quality is not in question though and with this palate you could drink a lot of this. Pure and simple.
 

Glen Moray 15yo Elgin Heritage

15 Year Old Elgin Heritage

40% ABV


Nose

And there’s the body!! The barrel’s influence is so much more present. A slight bit of salinity to the smell and a lot more barley too. Like all the light notes of the 12yo have bulked up and come out to play. Caramel sweetness throughout.

Taste
Rich caramel flavours continue – sweetness up front but things soon take a turn and the flavours become more and more savoury and ultimately leave a black peppery spice.

Finish

Woody. Really woody. Like, chewing on some wood kinda woody. The peppery flavours have removed all that initial sweetness and it coats your thought with a spiciness that could cure the common cold.

Verdict

Well, what a difference the 3 years seem to make. I’m not sure if there are different types of barrel used but this has such a contrast to the 12yo. This I couldn’t drink too much of! Lots of flavours for savouring, with some strong elements at play. My personal preference would have been for the sweetness to stick around a bit longer, but that is hardly a criticism. Maybe my perfect Glen Moray Elgin Heritage would split the difference and be a 13.5 yo? Either way, these are two different drams that are both rather good at what they do.

Elgin Heritage Head-to-Head

Edit: Thanks to @faycoull “Mr Master Distiller’s wife” of Glen Moray for confirming that the 15yo is combination of ex-Bourbon and Sherry Cask whiskies which are married just before bottling! 👍🏻

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