Not long after the revamped 10yo, Benromach released this 10yo 100 proof. As I mentioned before, with the new cleaned up look, the range as well was sort of “cleaned up”. There won’t be another Origins. Origins batch five (Golden Promise Barley) will be the last one. Also the Traditional has been replaced by the new 5yo. The first fill Bourbon Cask Strength bottlings are thus replaced by this 100 Proof, that by the look of it, isn’t only from first fill Bourbon casks anymore. What did survive the clean up are the Organic, the Peat Smoke and last but not least, the Wood Finishes. All are now vintages, including the year of distillation (and bottling). The two new wood finishes that were released in 2014 are the 2005 Hermitage and the 2006 Château Cissac. I really liked the Cask Strength version mentioned above, so let’s see if this new 100 Proof is an improvement…
Color: Copper gold
Nose: Sherried, vanilla, smoked almonds and plain wood smoke. Quite closed at first. Clay and toffee. New built house. Cement. Vanilla pudding. Interesting stuff. Wood, paper and burning off dry autumn leaves. Similar to the “normal” 10yo, with some notes enhanced. Especially the smoke and clay. Although the smoke is not very hefty like in some Islay Whiskies, it is absolutely delicious in this one. Pencil shavings. Modern, clean, open, light and spacious (architecturally speaking). So not simple and no lack of complexity. By the way the Whisky doesn’t smell like it is a 100 proof.
Taste: Smoke and malt. Smoky bitterness you also taste in smoked foods. Clay and late short sweetness. The Whisky isn’t sweet throughout. Wood, but not oak, more like plywood and an old cigar box in which you just started to saw. Italian laurel licorice. The more air this gets the more this Whisky seems to be built around wood notes and smoke. It could do with some more sweet and fruity Sherry notes. (Not the funkiness, Sherry sometimes gives).
This is good quality Whisky, well made and well designed. Everything has its place and everything is easily discernible and fits together like a nice interior. But, and there is a but, it is a new house, although a very beautiful house with a nice and new interiors, it lacks the feel of its occupants, nothing is used yet, nothing has seen some life. It’s to soon to develop a heart, to have its own character. It will get there, the people behind Benromach will see to that, I’m sure about that. So summa sumarum, a nice cask strength version, but the regular 43% ABV version is just as nice.