Benromach Single Malt Scotch 11 Year Peat Smoke
At the 2014 Whiskies Awards, the Beromach 10 Year was awarded Best Speyside Single Malt. Why am I going back to 2014? Because that same batch was made twice – one brother batch to be the “normal” 10 year, the other brother batch to be an amped up 11 Year – the Peat Smoke. Same great whisky, just cranked up a notch in Peat – 52 ppm extra to be exact.
That’s right, Speyside’s smallest distillery, located on the wee outskirts of the ancient market town of Forres, and using just two master-distillers to passionately handcraft their spirit, is back, and it’s bigger than ever. As the distillery notes:
“The finest Scottish barley is malted with high levels of peat smoke at 67ppm (parts per million: the phenol level, to those in the know). Aromas of sweet vanilla, honey and cured meat aromas, hints of apricot and lemon combining with a beautiful subtle tobacco note. Diving into enjoy the tastes there’s cracked pepper with sweet strawberry and orange flavours, a delicate hint of aniseed… combined with a lingering edge of bonfire embers. It’s a wonderfully fruity and smoky single malt whisky.”
And I completely agree.
For some, the 11 Year age statement means this is an underdog. But this distillery knows what they are doing. As the spirit sits in wood, it gets more rancio: It holds more wood character. This runs the risk of drying out the fruit and roasted nut character of the spirit, making it much more dry and spicy. Further, the longer it sits in wood, the less peat influence will remain. That’s why your Islay Peat Monsters – Laphroaig and Ardbeg have 10 year as their traditional bottling. The folks at Benromach know this, and they want the spirit at its ultimate expression. Ultimate in fruit, in textural smoothness, and cask richness. The three reach their apex right at 11.
Not to put too fine a point on it, but this is a single malt you can DRINK. This shouldn’t just be in my glass, it needs to be in yours. There is a reason it won Best Speyside Single Malt of 2014: indubitable deliciousness.
But! – as you can imagine from a distillery that has two full-time personnel and is the smallest in Speyside – there isn’t much to go around. Act fast, before your bottle goes up in smoke.