I received this bottle as a birthday gift in April from my sister and brother-in-law. That it has held me in good stead until now is a testament to how precious it is. Not available in Ontario, I have savored every last drop, enjoying the final dram as I write this review.
My first experience with the Benromach was their ten year old expression, which I purchased at the Calgary airport during a hasty teleconference with fellow scotch blogger Matt, who provided me real-time intelligence from the Internet as I perused the collection. While highly enjoyable, the 21 year old is far, far superior. Yellow gold in colour, it gives off a rich, leathery nose with notes of toffee, raisins, and a hint of pear.
The first sip is slightly thick and mellow, and coats the mouth with a warm honey flavor, giving way to a slightly bitter citrus juiciness which I attribute to its sherry cask finishing. It finishes warm, with a gentle peppery burst followed by a touch of black licorice. It is overall mellow, sweet, fruity and sophisticated. A dash of water doesn't change the flavor remarkably, but brings out the sherry notes ever so slightly. I would say it is equally enjoyable either way.
Although I typically prefer bolder, smoky and salty malts, the depth of character of this Speyside malt exemplifies what a sweet, fruity Scotch can be. In terms of accompanying food, it would pair beautifully with dark chocolate, aged white cheddar, or honey glazed ham.