Saturday 28 September 2019

Tasting Benromach's latest 50 Year Old 1969 Single Cask [Tasted #468]

"I don't always drink Benromach, but when I do..."

We've been pretty fortunate here at TimeforWhisky to try some old and incredibly rare Benromach releases over the years. The last we tried was a 46yo single cask from 1972 (one of only 75 bottles) and the one before that a 41yo single cask from 1974. One thing we found with each of these was that they were incredibly delicious, well-made whisky, bottled at just the right time.

The thing is, "delicious" and "well-made" seems to be something that applies across the Benromach range, right down to the entry level 10 Year Old. I've referred to Benromach as a distillery who just make incredibly good, honest whisky, and I still stand by that today.

..but the whisky we're tasting today isn't quite an entry level whisky. At 50 years old, the new Bemromach 50 Year Old 1969 Single Cask is the oldest current expression available from the distillery, and only 125 decanters are being released.

Distilled on 11th June 1969, the whisky spent 50 years (and one day) in a refill sherry hogshead (cask #2003), until it was bottled on 12th June 2019 at 44.6% ABV. Each of the 125 bottles will be available from 30th September for £8,000 / €9000 / $10,000USD.

Unlike recent releases (41yo, 42yo, 46yo etc..) this one has a nice round age statement which seems to be fairly deliberate, considering it was bottled exactly a day after its 50th birthday. So, does it still follow the ethos of delicious whisky bottled just at the right time? The distillery kindly sent us a sample to find out...

Benromach 50 Year Old Single Cask 1969 (44.6% ABV, 50yo, Speyside, £8,000 / €9000 / $10,000USD)
Colour: Deep mahogany-brown.

Nose: A nice balance of oak and fresh berries at first, then moving towards stone fruits - peaches and apricots most notably*. Mature oak, with warming cinnamon spice. I tasted the whisky in a Glencairn (as I always do) but saved some to try in a 1920's Blender's Glass, which I found toned down the oak on the nose, and turned up the fruity sweetness.

Palate: The first thing you get is that delicious and distinctive resinous note you only get on seriously old whiskies. Oak, but not overly dominant. Theres a subtle maltiness, coffee beans, then wafts of delicate woodsmoke complimented by apricot and a slight vegetal note (coriander). There's an underlying fruity sweetness, and (after some time in the glass), more stonefruit sweetness.

Finish: Mature oak and stone fruits - more of the apricot, peach and now some pear. There's noticeable oak at the very end but it's not overwhelming and doesn't detract from the other flavours.

Rating (on our very non-scientific scale):  91/100. Another fine example of a (very) well-aged whisky which has stood the test of time.

*Interestingly, both peach and apricot are called out in the official tasting notes, which I only read after writing mine!

A big thanks to Benromach, Gordon & Macphail & WS for the generous sample.


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