Bottler: Original bottling
Age: 35 years
Casks: First fill Ex-Sherry
most likely chill filtered and uncoloured
Colour: reddish amber
It’s not every day (for me at least) that there’s a 35 year-old whisky in the glass, so this is a special occasion. Time to assume position, pour the remainder of the sample I was sent for the #Benromach35 tweet tasting and sniff away!
The nose opens just as expected from a whisky past a certain maturation point. Beeswax, polished oak, oak-matured honey (wait, what?), oily, thickened grape juice and dried orange peel paired with chocolat-ey cigar tobacco and an old, slightly dusty leather jacket forgotten in grandma’s closet (but in a good way). The oak is certainly strong in this one, but not to a point where it’s too much. At the same time it’s an elegant whisky, like an old, kind, perfume-doused and still classy, but slightly fragile lady. The palate starts out quite fresh, zesty and dry, with a waxy coating getting to the teeth right away, but the whisky doesn’t coat the entire mouth, it leaves out the back parts, hmmmm… During the tweet tasting I described the taste as “dusty old grapes” – well, building upon that I’d say dry wine grapes on an oak platter. Licking a beeswax-polished oak board, a touch of tobacco oil, oak-aged marmalade, a splash of very dry, long-aged oaky sherry, slightly green Kiwi with bitter kernels and 20 years-old, fading mulled wine spice mix. At the same time it feels just a bit diluted, perhaps the 43% bottling strength is a tad too toned down (but then again I do not know the original cask strength…) The long finish has a warming “aged marmalade” zesty zing upon swallowing, followed by dry notes with oak sap, tobacco, a hint of dark fruits (without sweetness) and beeswax. Not too full-on, we’re back to the gentle old lady. Getting oakier and sappier as time goes by with a pleasant waxy note hanging on for dear life for a very long time.
Well, this is a double-edged sword. One part of the whisky is still fresh and lively and another is old, aged, oaky imparting the unmistakeable “really old whisky” flavours of beeswax, wood polish, dusty fruits and the likes. If you get the chance, tasting whisky as old as this is a must in order to train your palate and broaden your knowledge. As far as this particular example goes, it is a fine example of aged whisky, scoring high in the 80s but for a 90s score I would’ve wished for a tad richer palate – for me there is something missing translating between the fresh and the old notes, it just does not tickle my entire mouth. But that is criticism on a very high level! A very good example of “old whisky” indeed without being too woody and oaky (which can happen too), but be prepared to pay a nice wee sum, if you can still find it! If you don’t want to spend as much, my personal recommendation is their classic 10yo.
(Nose: 88 Palate: 87 Finish: 87)
Sample kindly provided by Benromach via @TheWhiskyWire for the #Benromach35 Tweet tasting!