As we prepare to mutilate ourselves in order to detach from
Europe in what has become a sinister death cult propelled by right wing zealots
south of the border. There is the consideration and argument what has Europe
done for us? Whilst these weary and bitter men in their white gowns can point
to headline nonsense such as bananas being a certain shape, I actually believe
the benefits are greater than many truly realise, until its too late.
Whisky Rover isn’t a political forum and the Scotch Whisky
Association represents us all so well. Instead, Europe has given us the
biblical resource that is known as Whiskybase. In essence it’s a platform for
whisky enthusiasts to come together united in their love for whisky and passion
for debate and discovery. With a long overdue new version debuting earlier this
year, a more stable platform has been established as the chronicles swell to
almost 100,000 bottles. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting some of those involved
with Whiskybase and their passion and knowledge for whisky is very impressive.
A growing extension of Whiskybase is the series of bottlings
they’ve put together under the archive range distinctly decorated with sea
creatures. I’ve tried a couple with positive reactions, but my chains to the
Cadenhead 175th 2017 wagon prevent any further discoveries until
next year. Whiskybase has also bottled single casks working in conjunction with
distilleries and this is what we have right here. It’s an interesting choice,
as I know some of the team are quite partial to a Speyside whisky even though
they need to work on their Tormore levels of appreciation. Their store in
Rotterdam acts as the central hub, but with an online presence they ship abroad
efficiently including returning whiskies to Scotland.
Whisky festivals are a common sight nowadays making for
almost every weekend if you so wished. I'm weary of several that are for many attendees an afternoon session in as drinking as much as possible within the allotted time frame. Worthy exponents are thin on the ground
given the widespread competition and if they’re not on your doorstep then the
costs can pile up. Whiskybase launched their Gathering event in 2016 and from
all post-event reports I’ve received, it’s an exciting addition to the annual whisky
calendar. So much so that I’m due to attend the 2017 incarnation, which is held at the Maassilo in Rotterdam on 25th November. It’s a celebration of
whisky much along the lines of the Glasgow Whisky Exchange Rare & Old event
that showcased whiskies from all various eras. Already a highlight from a
memorable year, I’m expecting more of the same in Rotterdam.
The event kicks off at midday for 6 hours of exploration
with a couple of Masterclasses hosted by Angus MacRaild (Old & Rare) and
Phil Thompson (Closed Inverness distilleries) offering a break from the
showroom floor. Those fortunate to snap up a ticket for the whisky dinner the
previous evening will have an assortment of Dutch cuisine and closed
distilleries to experience. Included in the 27 Euro ticket price are 5 tokens
to spend at the stalls with exhibitors from across Europe including Dornoch Distillery, Dutch Connection, Enrico Gaddoni, Whisky Nerds and many returnees
from 2016 who were impressed by the whole experience. Expect the usual Whisky
Rover commentary post event and maybe online if you follow me via the usual
social media channels. There’s also a couple of bring your own bottle events
with the cost of admission being that bottle of Tormore.
Back to the bottle at hand and age is just a guide, as I
recently discussed how we’re transfixed upon numbers as part of a 1968 Glen Elgin review. It’s an easy habit to fall into and rather lazy. A whisky truly
is ready when it decides to be so; there’s no set formula despite the best
efforts of many. I still recall a Bunnahabhain straight from the cask a couple
of years ago that was around 2 years ago, but it was delightful. This is no
calling for the legal age to be lowered – far from it – yet it shows that
moment of harmony and unison can appear unexpectedly. Meaning, I have a great
deal of appreciation for Whiskybase for selecting this cask from Benromach at
just 8 years of age and bottling it for release. Such a move must scream
confidence and underlines the good work that Gordon & MacPhail have
invested into the distillery acquiring it in 1993 and restarting production in
1998. Already a high standard has been established and some of the single cask
releases from the 1970’s archives have been truly sublime.
Gordon & MacPhail set about reviving Benromach and
producing the pre-1960’s Speyside style of whisky that has been sadly lost to
time since across the industry with various improvements and modern
practices. It’s a tall order as this style of whisky is harmonious and layered
exquisitely offering delights to anyone regardless of experience. A touch of
smoke plays a part in seasoning the whisky, but Benromach’s character is more
than this individual aspect. It’s about letting the whisky develop naturally, a
distillation process relying on human skill and a traditionalist ethic that
runs strongly throughout each of the stages.
This release has sold out since appearing earlier in 2017,
but it may appear via secondary sources. A single ex-bourbon barrel (#372),
with an outturn of 215 bottles this would have set you back around 67 Euros and
was an impressive 60.1% strength.
Colour: white grapes
Nose: very clean cut with a strong influence still of the youthful spirit and a hint of alcohol. A very spritey whisky with vanilla and fresh apples drizzled with lemon juice. Pungent to a certain extent and cleansing along with mint leaf. There's fennel, liquorice and a varnish quality to it and with water more spice and resin appears with fudge.
Taste: very creamy with apples and vanilla poached pears. A white chocolate dynamic alongside lime zest, talcum powder and liquorice once again. With water more of the resin, tarragon, cask char and a light caramel.
Overall: this whisky has won me over as upon first impression I wasn't hugely impressed by the nose. However it certainly benefits from time in the glass to settle down and open up. A perfect pour on a joyous Scottish evening with maybe just a little bit of sunshine please????
My thanks once again to WhiskyLifeStyle for the sample and photographs.
Labels: 2008, Benromach, whisky review, whiskybase