Showing posts with label Gordon and MacPhail. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Gordon and MacPhail. Show all posts

Benromach Peat Smoke 2004 Review


“Benromach Goes Islay”

Country: Scotland
Region: Speyside
Brand: Benromach Peat Smoke 2004
Type: Single Malt Whisky
Age: 9 Years
ABV: 46%

Colour: Pale Straw/White Wine

Nose: Quite similar to a young peated Islay Malt although the Peat is more Earthy than Maritime. Despite the high PPM, the Peat and Smoke are quite mild. Make sure to give this Benromach enough time in the glass to give it a chance to release its other Aromas as well. I find Toasted Barley, Hay, Heather Honey, Vanilla, Charred Oak, Dirt Road, light Soot, light Ashes, Smoked Ham, Mixed Citrus Peel, Caramel, Green Apple, Dried Herbs and light Spices. It's not earth-shaking but well-balanced. It invites you to take a sip. Given its age, the Alcohol is reasonably well integrated.  

Palate: Sweet at first but Dry and Spicy towards the end. I find Toasted Barley, Hay, Earthy Peat, light Smoke, Cigar Ashes, light Soot, light Menthol, Licorice, Cinnamon, Pepper, Grapefruit Juice and Mixed Citrus Peel. On the Palate it's more clear we're dealing with a Young Single Malt.

Finish: On the short side with Sweet Barley, Dirt Road, Dusty Vanilla, Ashes, Lemon Juice, Orange Peel, Pear, Smoked Meat, Licorice, Cinnamon, Pepper, Dried Herbs, Charred Oak and hints of Milk Chocolate, Acetone and Fish Oil.

I added a few drops of Water and the Nose becomes more Floral. On the Palate I get extra Citrus, Cinnamon and Sugar. I prefer it neat but you can carefully add a few drops if you like.

Rating: 86

Nose: 22 - Taste: 21.5 – Finish: 21 – Overall: 21.5

General Remarks: The Benromach Distillery is located in Forres (Morayshire) 
and was founded in 1898 by the Benromach Distillery Company. Benromach was mothballed from 1931-1937 and from 1983-1993. In 1993, Benromach was bought by Independent Bottler Gordon & MacPhail from United Distillers and since 1998 the Distillery is up and running again. The Benromach I'm tasting today is a Small Batch release, heavily peated at 53 PPM. It was distilled in 2004 and matured for around 9 years in a First Fill ex-Bourbon Cask before being bottled in 2014. It's not Chill-Filtered and naturally coloured. On average it costs a little over 50 US Dollars (August 2015).

Drinking Experience Neat: Good

Conclusion: Nice effort from Benromach. In my opinion the Benromach whiskies benefit from the use of Peat Smoke in the production process. It does not have to be 53 PPM(*) as the well-balanced standard 10 Years shows. Although the Benromach Peat Smoke 2004 is heavily peated, it's not a Peat Bomb like for instance the Ardbeg 10 that has a similar PPM. Somehow, the Benromach Peat is more subtle and subdued. It does not totally dominate the other Aromas and Flavours.  But if you like Caol Ila 12 or Lagavulin 16 for instance you won't be disappointed by this Benromach. The Price/Quality ratio is correct. I can't help but wondering how good this whisky could be when it would mature a little longer. But that's day-dreaming. For the time being I still prefer the 10 Years but the Peat Smoke is certainly a worthy addition to the Benromach portfolio! 

(*) The 2005 version of the Peat Smoke even shows an impressive 67 PPM. 

Jan van den Ende                                                                  August 27, 2015

Some Cask Types used at Benromach

Benromach Organic 2008 Review


“When Speyside Meets Kentucky”

Country: Scotland
Region: Speyside
Brand: Benromach Organic 2008
Type: Single Malt Whisky
Age: NAS (Around 6 Years)
ABV: 43%
Sample provided by the Benromach Distillery. Many Thanks!

Colour: Golden Yellow with a hint of Orange

Nose: Unpeated, Malty and Fruity with Sweet Barley, Vanilla, Buttered Toast, Puff Pastry filled with Stewed Peach and Apricot, Pineapple, Orange, Banana Ice Cream, Rum Soaked Raisins, Toffee, Cocoa Butter, Cinnamon, Cloves, Nutmeg, Floral notes and Lemon-Grass. The Virgin Oak certainly left its mark and the Nose of the Organic reminds me of Bourbon every once in a while. Despite the youth of this Spirit, the Alcohol is nicely integrated.  

Palate: The Delivery is on the Thin side and Bitter-Sweet. I find Malt, Cereals, Butterscotch, Coconut, Oak, Almonds, Banana Ice Cream, Pineapple, Pepper, Nutmeg, Clove, Ginger, Cinnamon, Lemon and light Licorice. On the Palate the youth of this Spirit is more eminent.

Finish: Middle Long, slightly too Thin and Bitter Sweet with ample Bourbon references. I find chewy Malt, Vanilla, Toffee, Brown Sugar, Pepper, Nutmeg, Ginger, Dried Herbs, Lemon-Grass, Oak, Banana and a hint of Tropical Fruit.

Relaxing at Benromach VC

I added a few drops of Water and Barley and Floral notes are enhanced. Some extra Malt and Spices on the Palate and in the Finish. I prefer it neat but you can add a few drops at a time if you like.

Rating: 84

Nose: 21.5  - Taste: 21 – Finish: 20.5 – Overall: 21


General Remarks: The Benromach Distillery is located in Forres (Morayshire) 
and was founded in 1898 by the Benromach Distillery Company. Benromach was mothballed from 1931-1937 and from 1983-1993. In 1993, Benromach was bought by Independent Bottler Gordon & MacPhail from United Distillers and since 1998 the Distillery is up and running again. The Benromach Organic was launched in 2006 and is made of certified organic ingredients. The production process is certified Organic as well. The whisky matures in Virgin American Oak Casks and is stored in the traditional dunnage warehouses. The sample I'm tasting today was distilled in 2008 and bottled in 2014. It is not Chill-Filtered and costs around 60 US Dollars (May 2015).

Drinking Experience Neat: Good

Conclusion: A nice all-round Speysider with quite a few Bourbon characteristics. This Organic Malt will please Whisky drinkers who prefer a Soft and Easy Going Whisky. It's not without some little flaws though. It could do with a Sherry Cask Finish as the Virgin Oak is quite present. I also found it a tad too Thin on the Palate and the Finish could be a bit longer as well. For the time being, the 10 Years old remains my favourite Benromach.

Jan van den Ende                                                                      May 14, 2015

The Stills at Benromach

Old Orkney Review


Hi everyone, after a week holidays in the mountains I'm back with the first Review of the New Year. But first of all I would like to wish all my readers and their families a very Happy and Healthy 2015. Over the last 3 years you have supported Best Shot Whisky Reviews with your visits, questions and comments. I sincerely hope that you will continue to accompany my Journey through the Land of Single Malts and Blends from all over the world in 2015! The interest you have shown is a huge driver for me to try and improve with every new review. Please feel free to leave your comments, questions and suggestions. They are more than welcome! And now let's continue with the first Review of 2015!  


“A Weak Revival of an Old Name”

Country: Scotland
Region: Islands - Orkney
Brand: Old Orkney
Bottled by: Gordon & MacPhail, Elgin
Type: Blended Whisky
Age: 8 Years
ABV: 40%

Colour: Full Gold

Nose: A quick Floral brush is followed too rapidly by Caramel, Grains, Young Oak, Malt, light Peat, light Cold Smoke, lightly Buttered Toast, Peanuts, Dried Apricot, light Citrus, light Acetone and a sprinkle of Salt. The Alcohol stings a little. All in all, it doesn't seem to go in any specific direction and I miss a bit of balance and purpose. Still, at this Price Level I have nosed far worse.

Taste: Thin, Edgy and slightly Bitter Arrival. The Alcohol is quite present. I find some Toffee, Caramel, Refill Oak, Wood Spice, Licorice and the Smoke of a cheap Menthol Cigarette.

Finish: Bitter-Sweet and Short with Grains, Alcohol, Spices, light Salty Peat, Sea Water, Sugar, Menthol, Refill Oak and a vague Floral note.

I added a few drops of Water and the Nose gets a little extra Fruit. It almost doesn't smell like Whisky anymore. It's more like a Banana-Rum Cocktail. Still, it's not bad. Try it out! Palate and Finish however do not accept the added Water. 

Rating: 72

Nose: 19 - Taste: 17.5 - Finish: 17.5 - Overall: 18

The Gordon & MacPhail Shop in Elgin

General Remarks: Gordon and MacPhail is an Independent Bottler and Distiller founded in Elgin in 1895. Currently the company bottles over 350 expressions from around 70 Distilleries as well as Blended Whiskies. Originally, Old Orkney or "OO" was a Single Malt produced in the 1920's at the Stromness Distillery on the Isle of Orkney. This Distillery closed in 1928 but "OO" remained available into the late 1930's, firstly as Single Malt and later on as Blended Whisky. The name Old Orkney was revived in the 1990's by Gordon & MacPhail. Next to the 8 Years you can find a 12 Years Blended Malt Whisky. Old Orkney 8 Years sells at an average 26 US Dollars. I bought the miniature on the spot at the Gordon & MacPhail shop in Elgin. The light Floral Smoke suggests the presence of young Highland Park in the Blend.

Drinking Experience Neat: The Nose is okay but the rest is below average.

Conclusion: The Label states that this Old Orkney is "The Islands Peedie (Small)
Dram". But if I lived on Orkney I would go for a Highland Park instead unless I would be totally out of cash. Because the "OO" is a simple bottom shelf Blend, be it with a reasonable Nose at this price level. Other than that there's not a lot to enjoy and if I was either Gordon or MacPhail I'm not sure I would want to commercialise this type of Blend as it does not seem to fit in their well known range of quality whiskies. In any case I won't dream of the Old Orkney 8 Years tonight!  

Jan van den Ende                                                             January 4, 2015

Ubique Blended Whisky Review



“Not The Best Shot”

Country: Scotland 
Brand: Ubique
Bottler: Gordon & MacPhail, Elgin
Type: Blended Whisky
Age:  NAS
ABV:  40 %
Date: 16/04/2014

Colour: Golden Amber

Nose: Light and Young. I find Grain Alcohol, Toffee, Refill Oak, Dusty Attic, Malt,  light Vanilla, Dried Apricot, Dried Herbs, light Orange, light Butterscotch and a touch of Sherry.

Palate: Watery Delivery. I get Pepper, Alcohol, Bitter Orange, Sweet Grain, Toffee and Refill Oak.

Finish: Short with Artificial Sweetener, Pepper, Toffee and Refill Wood. A bit of Salt and some Metallic or Plastic off-note.

Added Water completely kills this Blend.

Rating: 75.5

Nose: 20 - Taste: 18.5 - Finish: 18 - Overall: 19


General Remarks: This whisky was blended and bottled by independent bottlers Gordon & MacPhail in Elgin for the Royal Artillery Council of Scotland. Ubique is the motto of the Royal Regiment of Artillery. It means "Everywhere" referring to the fact that the Regiment participated in many battles around the world throughout time. The Blend is discontinued but you might occasionally find it in auctions and on the Internet. It sold at around 40 Dollars. I bought a miniature in the beautiful Gordon & MacPhail shop in Elgin. Don't forget to visit the shop when you're around. It's worth it!

Drinking Experience Neat: Below average.

Conclusion: If I was a member of the Royal Artillery Council I would set up my pieces and fire a round in protest. This Blend does not do justice to the Artillery nor to anybody else for that matter. The Nose is Light but Okay but on the Palate and in the Finish this Blend is weak and does not show any character, strength or flavours. Therefore it should have been called "Nusquam", the Latin word for Nowhere.

Jan van den Ende                                                                 June, 2014

Gordon and MacPhail Shop in Elgin!