Peated expressions are far from anything new in the world of Scotch whisky. Yet there is something distinctly different about this offering from one of the smallest distilleries in Speyside.
For those unfamiliar with the difference in peat, Islay peat carries the familiar iodine and briny notes whereas the Highland peat used by Benromach brings a much more mellow smoky element to the table. This is something that serves this medium bodied whisky well, especially when cranked up to 35ppm and balanced against an excellent core spirit.
Handcrafted through every phase of its production and matured in ex-bourbon hogsheads, this 7 year old whisky demonstrates that age certainly isn't everything from the moment you get your hands on it.
Nose: Distinctly creamy and fruity with notes of toasted grains, there is only a light smokiness present at first. That is until water is added. Then the smoke erupts alongside fresh grassy tones and a hint of vanilla. Yet even during this blast, that smoky element is vastly different and much softer than anything else I have experienced in this ppm range.
Palate: Apricots and peaches dazzle along with the friendly zip of black pepper, all fused with a delightful cluster of spice and velvety smoke. The addition of water maintains the fruity elements while turning up the volume on that smoke and spice combination, evoking memories of a Sunday afternoon barbecue.
Finish: Refined, smooth, and short. The peaches and smoke linger, fading just slowly enough to allow time to properly savour it before heading back to the glass for another sip.
Overall: A perfect balance between sweet, spice, and smoke, it is well set up to take a splash of water at 46%. Surprising in its dichotomy of simplicity and complexity, this is a bottle worth hunting.
Sadly not (as of time of writing) available in Ontario, it is available in neighboring Quebec for $66.25. For our Alberta readers Kensington Wine Market has it on for $69.49, and for those of you either residing in Chicago or taking a short jaunt there for a few days, the fine folks over at Binny's will charge you $69.99 to take it home.