Europe is confined, and Scotland is not one of them. My destination today was the city of Forres and the BENROMACH distillery. Arriving in front of the whitewashed buildings, I find it closed. Despair.
Luckily Fiona had said that the 2008 Vintage Cask Strength bottle would be waiting for me on the bench next to the distillery and its red chimney.
As there's no soul living here with the confinement, I decide to go and taste it further north on the beach of Findhorm (a village just next to Forres on the North Sea coast).
So I head north following the bed of the Burn of Mosset and its natural water passed through the granite hills of Romach. I leave BRAD PEAT next to the entrance of the distillery and it is death in the soul but motivated that I walk across the fields to reach the bay of Findhorm.
It's an hour and a half walk to the beach. I wanted to be quiet and calm to taste this first version of this Vintage Cask Strength, I am not disappointed. The beach is empty for miles around.
Only cormorants and seals in front of the Burghead-bay I land on the stones remnants of World War II. The scenery is beautiful, on the left towards the town of Findhorm very colorful wooden beach huts, on the right the remnants of the war with a large beach with remains of port and bunkers.
Fiona left word for me to meet the distillate. It was distilled the old-fashioned way like all BENROMACHs with its local barley, brewer's yeast, in 2008 and pampered by Keith Cruiskshank (distillers manager), stayed for 10 years in first fill bourbon and sherry casks in the "dunnage warehouse" (low warehouses with only 3 levels of casks).
I still have a small bottle of water with me because at 57.9% it might take a few drops. It is thus with the only sound of the north wind and the waves of the sea of the same name, that I am about to taste this beautiful amber-coloured distillate. The sound of the wind is just disturbed by the sound of the cork jumping and the sound of the first drops coming out of the bottle.
When the nose dives into the glass, you can smell that sherry has passed through there! It's coated with ripe red fruits. You also realize that you are almost 58%. Take your courage in both hands and leave it still in the glass to let out some ripe apple and pear aromas as well. On the second passage, the nose is still put to the test with spicy notes of pepper and a clove background.
To make a good comparison, I serve myself a second glass, who could blame me for being alone! In the latter I throw in a few more drops of water. The nose is mellowed and while the sherry notes are still present, there are some rounder notes of caramel. At the second passage, with water one discovers notes of barley and very pleasant hay which come to round off the distillate.
When it enters the mouth without adding water it is with a bang with notes of red fruits such as strawberries but especially black pepper on the tongue. When these peppery notes move over the foliated papillae, the tongue is adorned with notes of orangettes (orange and chocolate). Once all these tastes calm down, smoky caramel notes appear.
With a few drops of water the sherry and the strength is attenuated and much sweeter, fruity and sweet notes emerge from this distillate. A mixture of soft and ripe banana and a hint of honey at the end.
While it was not overly marked, it is during the finish that the caramel and smoky notes stay the longest in the mouth. After a few seconds a hint of spice finishes this tasting.
On my beach, no one ever came to disturb the quietness of this tasting. Only a seal appeared from the waves to surprise me and bring me back to reality.
Unfortunately, I will have to think about coming back to BRAD PEAT which is waiting for me in front of the closed distillery and I have to get going because I have about 1 hour and a half of walk before leaving for new adventures.