The Benromach Contrasts Series is back with two new bottlings: The Kiln Dried Oak and Air Dried Oak. Those familiar with this series know it was created to release contrasting variations of the standard Benromach style, and these two fit right up that alley!
For these new releases, the distillery used different techniques to dry the staves that make up the casks, in an experiment to see how it affects the flavours. The two siblings have both matured in virgin oak casks, but they underwent different processes.
The Benromach Contrasts Air Dried Oak was air-dried for three years, before toasting the staves. In contrast, the Kiln Dried Oak was air-dried for a year shorter, and then the staves were further accelerated drying in the kiln. An interesting detail is that drying in the kiln increases the interaction between spirit and wood. Both were bottled at a strength of 46% ABV.
Benromach Air Dried oak tasting notes:
Nose: Citrus fruits; a nice combination of lemons and oranges at first. A note of gooseberries as well. Peaches. There is a hint of smoke. Some vanilla, followed by a touch of leather.
Taste: A thick and oily mouthfeel, with those lovely citrus fruits again. A good drop of honey. Then creme brulee, especially that top layer. A hint of mint. Followed by spices, such as black pepper and nutmeg.
Finish: long and somewhat dry, with subtle smoke, an herbal note, and a hint of wood.
A pleasant whisky, which still has the classic Benromach character. I especially like the nose where it is mainly the fruit tones that dominate.
Benromach Contrasts kiln dried oak tasting notes:
Nose: A lovely waxy note. Followed by lemons and red apples. Then a little bit of caramel. A hint of almonds. Later I also get some oak and smoke as well.
Taste: rather creamy with wax and a hint of smoke. Lemons, oranges, but also pineapple. Then I get ginger, after which it goes towards spices such as black pepper and nutmeg.
Finish: Mid-long and somewhat dry, with a touch of oak. Black pepper and oranges.
The classic Benromach profile is less present than with the Air Dried Oak, but again a lovely whisky. The smoke is more prominent here, and there is a little more oak to be found. Thijs from Words of Whisky makes the comparison with Bowmore, and I can understand that. My favourite? Hard to say, they both have something to offer. So hence the same score for both.
Samples provided by Benromach