Benromach Imperial Proof

Single Malt — Speyside, Scotland

4.0 out of 5 stars
I don’t have much experience with Benromach. I believe I’ve had the 10 and maybe 1-2 of the vintage Peat Smoke offerings, but that’s it. I wouldn’t say I avoid this distillery, as everything I’ve tried has been solid to very good, I just don’t seek this one out. No real reason why, I just don’t. However, my friend @Telex (from MD) graciously sent a bunch of us a pour of this one: known in the US as Benromach Imperial Proof (not to be mistaken with the 100 Proof bottling- both are the same whisky and are just labeled differently depending on market). Imperial proof is 57% by U.K. standards. So, this one is 57% ABV and is a muddy copper in color and oily, with sparse legs and very tiny droplets left behind after a spin in the taster. The nose has lots of spicy aromas: black pepper, wood spice, even a little Christmas spice mingles about in there. The backbone here is provided by a fresh, leathery note and some light orchard fruit. Crisp apples and pears imply a subtle sweetness awaiting you on the tongue. The palate really kicks things into gear with the woody notes washing across the tongue. Orchard fruits keep the heat at bay, initially- but when it arrives it really takes command and pushes the soft stuff away. The nose doesn’t prepare you for the onslaught of heat that comes by the middle of the sip. There’s a real fire here that can’t be denied, although it is surprisingly smooth for not only the age, but the higher strength. You really need to enjoy a wood-soaked style of whisky here to be thoroughly entertained IMHO. The finish is long, steadily warming and once again, woody. I can’t get over how butter smooth the liquid is, though. I would’ve guessed this was a much older dram that was left lingering in virgin oak had I not known what I was getting into. This one seems like it would play well for a barrel strength, wheated bourbon drinker. In the end, it acts older than it is and that should be its claim to fame. It’s not complex and it just does what it does quite well. I’m not exactly sure of the price point, but if it was a $50-60 bottle I’d say it’s a great deal. I have a feeling it’s more expensive, since it’s single malt, and that’s where I’d have to hold it more accountable for its shortcomings, like lack of depth and complexity. Not knowing price- it’s a 4 star dram. Maybe I need to look into more Benromach offerings- especially for those times I want to feel like I’m drinking a well-crafted bourbon instead of a scotch whisky. Cheers, my friends.
  • Soba45

    Agree solid distillery but not one Id seek out. I think I rated the 15 yr highest of what i tried..at a 4.

  • KRB80

    Great review. One of my favs. It takes water very well also. When I heard they discontinued this, I grabbed a bunch to have on hand. Also, the US release is “Imperial Proof” and the UK is “100 Proof.” It’s the same whisky though. It has to do with some story about gunpowder and flammability.

  • SolanaRoots

    Top review @LeeEvolved - time to get deeper into Benromach? I’ve been impressed with some of their bottles, Organic & 10 Year. The 15 Year is also high on my wishlist