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Recent releases, October 2011 (II)

Benromach, Cask Strength 2001 (Scotland)
One of the most recent additions to the Benromach line up, Cask Strength 2001 has been matured in first-fill ex-Bourbon barrels. Each bottle carries a cask number, distillation year and bottling date. Immediate sweet smoke on the nose, plus tinned pears, ripe peaches, crystallised ginger and vanilla. Big, spicy Bourbon notes on the palate, almonds, fudge and then cinder toffee. Lingering fudge and spicy smoke in the finish. 59.9% ABV, 70cl, £40.50, specialist whisky merchants.
Benromach, 30 Years Old (Scotland)
Introduced at the same time as the Cask Strength 2001 variant of Benromach, this 30-year-old differs in that it was produced under the old Distillers Company Ltd regime that finally closed the Forres distillery in 1983. When Gordon &MacPhail came to re-equip the distillery prior to re-opening it in 1998, they effectively created a new production plant within the old buildings, and little more than the water source remained the same. This 30 Years Old expression comprises whisky from first-fill and refill ex-Sherry casks and the result is a dram where freshly-sliced Bramley apples dominate the early nose, then peaches, malt and mild marshmallow appear. Soft and mellow, with developing brittle toffee.Warming, rounded and malty on the Sherry and marzipan-influenced palate, with a tube of fruit gums somewhere in the mix.Hints of smoke and black pepper in the long, elegant finish. 43.0% ABV, 70cl, £149.99, specialist whisky merchants.
Benromach, Wood Finish Hermitage 2001 (Scotland)
This expression of Benromach was matured in first-fill ex-Sherry and Bourbon casks before spending 22 months in casks that had previously been used to produce wine from the Hermitage Appellation d’Origine Controlee, in the northern Rhone wine region of France. A nose of old leather, ginger, red wine, sultanas, toffee and developing smoke. Full and fruity on the palate, with citric elements balanced by creamy, sweet spices. The finish is relatively long and spicy. 45.0% ABV, 70cl, £31.25, specialist whisky merchants.
Benromach, 2000 Burgundy Wood Finish (Scotland)
Benromach Burgundy Wood Finish was initially matured in ex-Sherry and Bourbon casks before being re-racked into Pinot Noir wine casks from St Romain in Burgundy and matured for a further seven years. Initially strong fruit aromas, apples and dark berries, followed by gentle smoke and vanilla. The palate is silky, with more fruit, toffee apples and background peat smoke. Spicy and bitter-sweet in the finish, with citrus and vanilla. 45.0% ABV, 70cl, £33.95, specialist whisky merchants.
Wemyss Vintage Malts, The Hive 12-year-old (Scotland)
The latest addition to the Wemyss Malts’ line up of 12-year-old blended malts is named The Hive, giving a broad hint as to the characteristics you can expect from it. The emphasis here is on Speyside malts, and both fresh and refill ex-Sherry casks have been used in its composition. Honey on the nose, slight smoke, cinnamon, butter, mild vanilla and toffee. Mouth-coating, with a palate of apricots, hazelnuts, honey, a little more smoke and spice. The finish is medium in length, with soft oak and fruity spices. 40.0% ABV, 70cl, £34.99, specialist whisky merchants.
Suntory, Yamazaki Single Malt Bourbon Barrel (Japan)
The latest release from Suntory’s Yamazaki distillery comprises various single malts which have been matured in ex-Bourbon barrels for between 10 and 15 years prior to vatting and bottling. Just 3,000 bottles have been allocated to European markets. Well-mannered and floral on the nose, with honey and ginger. An initial sherbet fizz on the palate, lots of citrus fruits and walnuts. More oaky with the addition of water. Drying very slowly, with spicy vanilla and a squeeze of lemon juice. 48.2% ABV, 70cl, £70.00, specialist whisky merchants.
Suntory, Hakushu Single Malt Bourbon Barrel (Japan)
This is a parallel release to the Yamazaki Single Malt Bourbon Barrel and comes from Suntory’s second distillery of Hakushu, which is actually the largest operational malt whisky distillery in the world. As with the Yamazaki, this expression comprises various malts between 10 and 15 years of age which have been matured in former Bourbon barrels. Delicate and initially slightly reticent on the nose. Lemon, grapefruit and spice. Some gumminess. The palate is rounded and spicy, with banana, pineapple, hazelnuts and vanilla. Lingering lively ginger and subtle oak in the finish. 48.2% ABV, 70cl, £70.00, specialist whisky merchants.
  

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