Over the past five to ten years, distilleries across Scotland have been more pen to experimental when it comes to the casks they use to finish their whisky. Following in the footsteps of successful distilleries such as The Balvenie and Glenmorange, master blenders are looking past the traditional bourbon, port and sherry casks, and are starting to experiment with casks which have previously held non-spirit drinks, including beer and wine.
Speyside’s Benromach distillery has led the way over the past 20 years with its willingness to experiment and push the boundaries, which is evident in their newest release – Benromach Hermitage 2007.
The Benromach Hermitage 2007 – which is limited to 3,300 bottles – draws its unique flavour from six years maturing in bourbon barrels, before spending a further 31 months in oak casks which once matured wine from the Hermitage Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée, in the northern Rhône region of France. This release follows a number of other limited editions from Benromach’s Wood Finish range, including Hermitage 2005, Château Cissac 2006 and Sassicaia 2007.
The tasting notes encourage the drinker to “enjoy those scents of summer”, and on a dark October night, it’s very difficult to resist. The nose on this is very sweet and fresh, with zesty lemon and lime flavours – reminds me of Haribo Tangfastics. Lying behind this is a robust peppermint burst, although not much of Benromach’s signature Speyside smoke. The fruity sweetness transfers onto the palate, with light orange and dark cherry. A touch of vanilla and gentle spice also come through from the bourbon casks. And there’s warmth on the palate, which after a while, morphs into the smoke which has been hiding itself.
Sweetness, a bit of spice, and all things nice – another cracker from Benromach.
For more information on the distillery and its whisky, log on to www.benromach.com