Monday, August 27, 2007

Malt Mission 2007 #146

Benromach Peat Smoke
Speyside Single Malt Whisky

46% abv

Another Speyside week on the Malt Mission. Sure, its a Bank Holiday Monday and Notting Hill Carnival, but there ain't no rest for the whik-sy. Well, sort of. Today's malt has been guest-tasted by JM and some of the Benromach info is blatantly lifted from author and historian Gavin D. Smith. View his site HERE.

"Back in 1983 the old Distillers Company Limited closed nine distilleries in an effort to cut over-supply and lower the level of the 'whisky loch.' Two years later, the firm went on to shut a further ten distilleries. Some of those silent distilleries are long gone, buried beneath retail and residential developments, but others have happier tales to tell. Tales of restoration and revival.

One such distillery is Benromach, built in 1898 on the outskirts of Forres, close to Elgin. Benromach closed in 1983, but was saved from oblivion by the internationally renowned Elgin-based independent bottler, wholesaler and retailer Gordon & MacPhail, who purchased the site in 1993 and set about reviving the distillery. It was subsequently reopened by HRH the Prince of Wales in its centenary year."

Benromach Peat Smoke uses the same intensity of peating as Laphroaig, 55 ppm. Gordon & Macphail has been produced a batch of peated malt annually and this one, matured in first-fill bourbon casks, is from 2000. It serves as a peated counterpart to the Benromach Traditional, a great value malt that has not yet appeared on the mission, but that I have used at tastings for years.

I tasted this at the Whisky Fringe, and tasted it with JM and Beth at the OddBins Wine Fair. They liked it and brought a bottle back to Canada with them. Again, these tasting notes are theirs.


Mineral water with a squeeze of lemon/lime, peat, iodine, wet steel, cantaloupe, damp organic (compost-y)

Nice thick, oily mouth feel. First banana popsicles or sorbet, mellowing into dry toast, salty soda crackers, then big peat. Grainy, dirty fresh spinach flavor. Evaporates and takes all the moisture out of my mouth. Feels like I drank a big bottle of cheap table chardonnay or ate a big bag of salty ballpark peanuts in the shell. Beth says the roof of her mouth feels like she scraped it on dry bread.


Mood whisky for sure. Not something I'm going to have more than one or two of at one sitting, but enjoyable and interesting just the same. It seems much simpler and more straight forward than the first time I had it, must have been influenced by something else that I'd been drinking that day... it was a wine and spirits fair, after all. Beth says it's her favorite in my collection right now (weird).

Back to Dr. Whisky typing now, fresh and fruity with great characteristics of bourbon maturation and waterfalls of peat. But I agree with JM, there is something about the dryness that works against the initial sumptuous mouthfeel. Overall, a tasty and well-priced treat from the happy-to-experiment Gordon & Macphail, and worth noting that it was really enjoyed by a woman who "doesn't like smoky whiskies".

Malt Mission #145
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