Benromach distillery tour

On arrival this is quite a pretty distillery that has kept visitors in mind. There is a nice water feature and the front is pretty attractive.We signed up for two standard tours at £5 each. We were the only ones on the tour and it started pretty much straight away. Our tour guide Sandy asked us if we’d been to a distillery before and we replied that we had done lots. Still he went through the basics on the whisky regions before putting a bit of Gordon and Macphail marketing on DVD for us. Then it was time to do the actual tour and we started off in a museum part that contained old distillery equipment. There was an old mash tun, mill, labeller and otyer interesting artefacts. This was the last part i was allowed to use my camera for “health and safety reasons”. Seriously people, the stills used to be directly fired!The tour inside was very interesting and i thought Sandy was pretty good. Benromach is the only distillery on the Scottish mainland where you can stand in one room and see the mash tun, wash backs and stills. The wash backs are made from larch and are the smallest i’ve seen. The stills are small but there is a bulb to prevent the spirit from being over heavy.We then got to see the dunnage warehouse (one of them anyway) and the filling room. They apparently fill all the distilate from the previous week on a monday morning and here are the fruits:A full weeks distilling for only 9 casks! Ibwas pretty surprised.Then it was back inside for the tasting. We were supposed to just taste the 10 year old. But Sandy was good to us and brought the 10, organic, peated organic and a sasscia wine cask finish. He also brought oat cakes for between drams. Good man! Here are some dramstats

Benromach 10 year old

  • Price £31
  • ABV 43%

Nose: Earthy peat (stronger than the 8-12 ppm suggests). Sherry notes, blackcurrant, malty but not too sweet. Raisins and xmas cakes come through, touch of lemon peel.Palate: Honey sweetness, slight smoke, bitter caramel, juicy raisin.Finish: raisins, cherries and a touch of smoke.Verdict: Quite peaty on the nose but not so peaty on he palate. Very sweet on the palate and very enjoyable. With £3 off thanks to the tour this is a total bargain and i’m getting a bottle!

Benromach Sasscia wine finish

  • Price £31
  • ABV 43%

Nose: Rich sherry, raisins, christmas cake and peat smoke. Not winey like i expected.Palate: Malted barley and a slight sweetness.Finish: Pepper, the peat is slightly sweet but the smoke is what comes through.Verdict nothing like as sweet as this type of finish promises. The price is fine but the 10 year old is a better whisky.

Benromach Organic

  • Price £33
  • ABV 43%
  • Virgin casks

Nose: grassy, nutty, barley apple crumble and cream.Palate: nutty with malted barley and fruit crumble.Finish: Slightly hot touch of spicy oak and pepper, hib nobs and oat cakes.Verdict i really liked this. Whats weird is that i get the same crumble note from the organic bruichladdich. I’m surprised that after 6 years in virgin oak this is not a biggar woodier whisky. Its really pretty good. I’m not reviewing the peated version as my notes turned out to be exactly the same but with added peat. Almost as if the same spirit had smoke “added”. I prefered the unpeated.

Tour verdict

This was a very good tour. Perhaps our guide could have left some of the usual spiel behind, knowing we’d been to loads of places, but he did have a wealth of knowledge gleaned from working in distilleries all over Scotland and had some great stories. I like the concept of the lightly peated malt to harken back to older style speysiders and i like the whisky. Thumbs up all round!

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