[We reviewed this one for the first time last year, but thought it warranted another look/taste this year…]
The Benromach 10 joins the exclusive club of a few other delicious single malts aged “merely” ten years at the minimum. I don’t feel I should say their names in this review, so I’ll almost rhyme them, not quite Cockney rhyming slang, trusting the astute reader—and what other sort might our blog have?—to make educated guesses. One reference dram is the Palisker 10 and the other I have in mind is the Latroyg 10. Like them, it’s got a distinctive distinctiveness: For the Benromach, moss growing in an outdoor cedar-walled shower sprayed with warm hyper-cleansed spring rain. The person showering has tribal armbands and a tramp stamp drawn on by a street artist using a black dry erase marker, and the math problems that seemed so perplexing now seem so obvious.
A brilliant mouth; not smart, not bright, but brilliant! Woody, but not tannic, not oaky, a wee bit smokey, moving as inexorably as the tide or a checkmate from Karpov to a coruscating grappa panna cotta in a brick-red terra cotta planter.
The finish is surpassingly delicate, like an exploratory party of ants marching hither and yon on the rainforest floor—more the discussion of a finish rather than actual finish, since the finish doesn’t feel like it ever starts, but nor (after about five minutes!) does it really go. It’s a Metafinish; a Prolegomena to All Future Finishes, and yes, Kantians, you’d be happy to will this to be the finish of all future whiskies. The woman in shower has gotten out, put on sandalwood scent, Spanx, spandex, vegan-approved Birkenstock sandals, and she leaves you with a ghost-kiss to ponder instead of debating the merits of Kant’s analytic vs. Kant’s synthetic approaches to mental states.
The Benromach 10 is Bill Simmons, recently fired from ESPN and Grantland—the one-time Boston Sports Guy. When anointing a new top-10 all-time player, Simmons writes, “Welcome to the Pantheon, Newly-Confirmed Superstar!” Welcome to the Pantheon of Incredible Ten Year Old Whiskies, Benromach 10!” I never dreamt that that club would admit a new member.
–Our thanks to Chris Riesbeck and Benromach for the sample!