BENROMACH PEAT SMOKE SHERRY CASK 59,9°
Today we will go to the north of Speyside in one of the smallest distilleries in the region: BENROMACH.
It is the smallest but also certainly the most artisanal in the area. It can clearly be said that as much as the bottles of the brand reflect modernity as the manufacturing processes remain the same since the creation of the distillery in 1898 (with a life full of turmoil with successive openings and closures before the acquisition by Gordon & Mcphail in 1993 -NDLR-).
In the distillery everything is handmade and reflects the calm and time that flows slowly. Like the thousands of years it took to bring water from the Chapelton spring in the Romach hills and to design the peat used, to soak and dry the barley, everything is manual (longer soaking, slow distillation, finishing in recent barrels...).
The result is fine liquids with fruity and slightly chocolaty notes. The one we will taste here is a limited edition of 600 bottles. This is the PEAT SMOKE known to the brand but with a Sherry finish (from Williams and Humbert, one of the largest Spanish producers -NDLR-).
For the 8 years of ageing Keith Cruickshank, the chief distiller, used Hogsheads barrels made from sherry staves, which again gives a beautiful subtlety.
But make no mistake about it, subtlety does not mean sweetness, this is a barrel brut that titers at 59.9 °!
To do honour to the traditional distillation, I suggest you pour the liquid into the glass and leave it in a corner so that it opens gently. It took a long time to make it, it will take a long time to drink it. Let your mind work and wander at the sight of this dark amber liquid. It will open up and prepare to receive this powerful whisky.
You can't hold on any longer? prepare psychologically in the glass. Maybe don't put it too deep in the bottom at first or with a little breathing (I remind you 59.9 °).
This whisky is announced as very peaty but I did not find the aromas of smoke very present. Perhaps they were masked by the force of the sherry. The aromas of red fruits and raisins are on the other hand there! This whisky is well finished in a barrel (or pieces anyway since it is a hogshead -NDLR-) of sherry.
In the mouth it is an explosion: certainly your nose had said to your taste buds: "beware there are horses" but the effect is still there. The notes of plums and candied fruits are violent at first but then soften in the palate (burned!) to turn into flavours of white fruits and vanilla. If you have the courage to push at the end of the 10 second regulations (distillation in 2008 and bottling in 2018) you can even see peat smoke coming (but it takes courage!).
To make the pleasure last even longer, I will not advise you, once you have tasted it raw, to add a drop of water (especially to calm the fire lit in the glass by the sherry and in your nose by the alcohol). Citrus fruits, vanilla and a little more marked peat.
It is with a little water (and indeed a little less power) that you can best appreciate the subtle aromas of a peated sherry!
In the end, once the tasting is over, it is the indication on the bottle that wins. Indeed, on the length are well the notes of peat that remain in the mouth and also in the glass.
Unless you've already refilled it!