- 86 Proof
- 15 Years
I am certainly a big fan of peated whiskies finished in wine casks. As far as single malts go, I lean almost exclusively in that direction, and I frequently find myself focusing only on the Islay section of the Scotch aisle. However, Benromach, despite being a Speyside distillery, has always used peat in their products, and I figured it was time that I give their 15 year a try.
After all, not only is this one peated, but, although not stated anywhere on the packaging, was matured at least in part in first-fill sherry casks. Sign me up! And the price certainly makes it an easy decision, as the $70 price point is more than generous for a 15 year peated whiskey finished in first-fill casks. Perhaps a little more proof would have been great, but then you'd have to pay for it.
Despite their claim that this has a "subtle" smoky flavor, the peat smoke came through fairly strongly on the nose. Behind that, however, were great notes of brown sugar and butter crackers, like Ritz crackers. The best part about the nose, however, was the bright raspberry note that married so well with that peat smoke and immediately had me salivating.
Interestingly, there wasn't nearly as much smoke in flavor as the nose had me believe. While it was there, it was indeed "subtle," and far less dominant than it was on the nose. That bright raspberry note I got on the nose wasn't nearly as strong as I had expected as well. It was a tad muted, which was immediately a bit disappointing.
However, that disappointment didn't last long, because while the raspberry note didn't take over, other great, rich notes came through to provide more complexity and nuance. I got rich fruits, like fig and raisin, paired with a molasses sweetness. There was even a pie crust note that created this sort of rich and sweet and yet savory flavor that was not only incredible but a bit unexpected.
On the finish the peat smoke seemed to come through much more. It was almost like it was the flavor that was left behind. A bit of sweet brown sugar accompanied that note and a bit of the fruit notes, both bright and dark fruits, lingered as well, albeit not for a super long time.
This was a delicious pour, and it surprised me at times the direction it went. It was unexpected, but certainly enjoyable.