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Benromach 10 yo ‘100° Proof’ (2014, OB, 57%)

We already spoke about Benromach in the past, trying few bottlings; today we test the 10 yo “100° Proof”, which is a 57% based on British metrics (in the USA 100° proof means circa 50% abv). As you know this is new distillate, which means it has been made after the takeover from Gordon & MacPhail in 1998 (or better: G&M bought the distillery in 1992, but took obviously some time before the whole rebuilt was completed); we always appreciated the “old-style”, let’s see how this one behaves.

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N: you wouldn’t believe this is a 57%… Incredible absence of alcohol: very open and very expressive. The first thing we notice is the smoky side, quite “dirty” – which, to be honest, reminds us of Longrow… Notes of meat, leather (tannery); blood orange zest hyper-ripe, tons of it; a pinch of gun powder (but also old dusty books). Behind, giving the distillate some more time, rises a wonderful sweetness: cereal/sesame with honey bar, crema catalana, raisins, buttery biscuits… Dried plums; dehydrated apricots; banana; we could go on more and more following the suggestions, it’s really complex and structured.

P: it starts slowly, but keeping it few seconds in the mouth… BOOM!, explodes with a nuclear apocalypse of intensity. The pear here is more toasted / dirty than smoky: again ripe blood orange, again gun powder (Serge defines it as “good Sulphur”). Nicely mineral; then again detonates in a fatty sweetness but luckily not excessive or annoying: vanilla, crème caramel (tiny bit bitter); some bitter honey; dried plums; again banana. Tarte tatin? Crystalized caramel; a note of cola. It never exceeds in sweetness, it remains always well balanced from the bitter side.

F: it begins on the spices (clove?), a vague pepper, then it opens up with a bittersweet citrusy and caramel side, it dies on an infinite carpet of extremely mineral peat and a bit of wax.

Way beyond our expectations: this 100 Proof is a real surprise we could compare with the one had tasting the Kilkerran in bourbon, it’s incredible for its capacity to be old-school, balancing without smudges (is the right word?) a very intense sweetness with a bitter and peated / mineral side. Both souls keep dancing together in the glass, this dram keeps changing and evolving… And we even haven’t add any water, the enthusiasm made us finish the sample before trying the experiment. What a personality! 89/100 is our vote, and we’d like to remind you that costs around 65 €… Totally promoted! Thanks to the exquisite Juliette Buchan for the sample.

Recommended soundtrack: Jason Hurwitz – Ouverture, dalla colonna sonora di Whiplash.

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