New Booze Round-up Reviews

New booze round-up #9: Father’s Day whisky

Benromach Classic Range

Hot on the heels of World Gin Day comes another event that seems to be more appealing to marketeers than anyone else: Father’s Day. But we know that booze is a popular purchase for Dads so are happy to pass on a few of the better recommendations. Inevitably the drinks category that received the most messages in our inbox leading up to the ‘big day’ is whisky, so consider this a Father’s Day Whisky Special…

Benromach speyside whisky

Benromach Single Malt, 15 years, 43%

Speyside distillery Benromach sent us a three-pack of 30ml bottles from their ‘Classic Range’ for us to try: Benromach 10 Years Old; their latest expression Benromach Cask Strength Vintage 2008 Batch 1; and our favourite, Benromach 15 Years Old.

The whisky picked up the Best Speyside Single Malt gong at the World Whisky Awards in 2018 so we were particularly keen to give it a go. It’s mightily impressive, with an easy going honey and vanilla sweetness but with a fruity richness that has been brought out by its maturation in sherry and bourbon casks. There’s also a very subtle hint of smoke that adds an extra degree of complexity. Top rated stuff for dads.

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BenRiach whisky bottle

BenRiach, Cask Strength Single Malt, Batch 2, 60.6%

We reckon there must be a growing trend for cask strength whiskies because we’re seeing a lot more of them than we used to. BenRiach, another Speyside distillery, has recently released its second cask strength booze and its a cracking batch.

The whisky has been matured in bourbon, sherry and virgin oak casks and, as you might expect from that combination (and the 60% ABV) it packs a mean punch of spice. Yet for all the power of oak and booze it’s amazingly drinkable – we would recommend diluting it to your preferred level but it’s still approachable neat. There’s a nice dusty vanilla that leads the way and some dry stoned fruit to escort your taste buds home, with very little in the way of bruisings from the booze in between.

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Balblair whisky bottle

Balblair 12 Year Old, 46%

We’ve got our chops around whiskies from most of the famous Scottish distilleries but somehow Balblair, one of the oldest, has passed us by. To rectify that outrageous error in our tasting history the good folk at Balblair kindly sent down a bottle of their 12 year old single malt.

The bottle itself is a superb squat, chunky beast that shows off the pale golden liquid a treat and its toped with what could be the largest stopper we’ve prised out. The satisfying ‘pop’ of the cork removal is followed by a very gentle aroma of citrus and honey – like the ideal concoction with which to soothe a sore throat.

At first the taste seems equally light, like some sweet spiced apple pie, but let it linger and some more interesting flavours emerge: a little bit rootsy and chocolatey with some orange liqueur richness and leathery dryness. It’s a whisky full of complexity and contrasts and we’re now eager to see what else the distillery comes up with.

Gentleman Jack Offer

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Jack Daniel’s Gentleman Jack, 40%

Jack Daniel’s is probably a much more familiar name than the Scottish distilleries we’ve featured, but we’re including Gentleman Jack because Tesco’s Father’s Day offer has it priced at a ridiculously low £20.

The product is a Tennessee whiskey that has received a double ‘charcoal mellowing’ (before and after ageing) that gives it a much cleaner taste and smoother finish than the classic Jack Daniel’s Old No.7. It’s full of sweet honey and vanilla flavours that are pepped up with dry fruity notes, but they come over in a much more refined manner, making it a very decent sipper. Even at full price it beats similar more expensive whiskeys; at the Father’s Day discount it’s a steal.

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