Review: Benromach 21 Years Old
Speyside single malt Benromach shook things up in 2020 with a big rebrand reportedly inspired by the distillery in Forres, Scotland. The former heavily italicized, freehand script was traded for a more eye-catching (and legible) block form that mimics one of the signs over their kiln. For past bottlings, the label coloring was a bit all over the place from expression to expression, but the new duds feature a universally applied Marlboro red inspired by the distillery’s iconic red doors. With the rebrand, the distillery also took the opportunity to beef up its portfolio of mostly non-age-stated expressions. For the core lineup, the classic 10-year-old has been joined by a 12-year-old (Taiwan market exclusive), 15-year-old, and, in 2021, this bottle, a 21-year-old.
When Rob reviewed our last Benromach, Peat Smoked Sherry Cask Matured, he noted with some hesitation that prices seemed to be creeping up for a brand that had traditionally been quite reasonably-priced. Luckily, the age-stated line extension appears to have continued that original ethos, with this 21-year-old being one of the better values in well-aged single malt on the market right now.
Aged in a mix of exclusively first-fill bourbon and sherry casks, the aroma is rich and fruity with big notes of applesauce, honeycomb, Fig Newtons, berry compote, and frangipane. Dark spices build as it opens in the glass along with a slightly leathery edge. It’s dignified yet still bright and inviting. The palate quickly presents a vinous quality with lots of sherry influence redolent with dark berries, juicy prunes, and gentle tannins. Subtle notes of baking cocoa and more savory roasted nuts develop on the mid palate before fading into a medium length finish of warm gingerbread and nut-filled fruit cake.
A- / $200 / benromach.com
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