Benromach 10 is stupidly good. I think the only reason I don't buy more Benromach 10 is because it feels like I'm rooting for the proverbial underdog whenever I buy anything else.

Benromach 10 is like the New York Yankees, the Los Angeles Lakers, or the USC Trojans during that undefeated season. People show up at the games thinking, “Yeah, of course they're going to win.” It's that obvious.

Over at Reddit's r/scotch forum, there's literally a robot that recommends Benromach 10 to new readers. At least I think it's a robot. Otherwise it means that there's someone who takes the time to post like a robot just to provide testimonials for Benromach 10. It was one of Ralfy's whiskies of the year. People are talking about it.

At least on internet land. In the dark hole of the internet, it's no secret that Benromach 10 is better than it has any goddamn right to be. But not many people in real life seem to know about it. Currently it holds the somewhat dubious record of being the smallest (recognized) distillery in Scotland. Probably some dudes are running an illicit still in a port-a-john that could challenge the title, but I can see how we'd start going down a slippery slope if we began recognizing any distiller without a stable mailing address as “smallest.”

What's interesting is that there's nothing about the product that would give you any clue to the distillery's size. The bottle itself is a stunning masterpiece of good, iconic design with those beautiful blue and copper colors and a graceful combination of fontwork. It may be my favorite package on the shelves. It doesn't look like some mom-'n-pop place slapped this product out.

And let me tell you, the juice inside that beautiful bottle is just as good. Benromach 10 is—only slightly ahead of Talisker—the best 10 year scotch whisky on the market. Bar none, full stop, flat out.

Benromach 10 is better than it has any goddamn right to be.

My nose is usually broken in comparison to a lot of other reviewers, but let me tell you that this really is a treat to smell. The whole experience begins with the aroma of a lot of great desserts. Keep your radar up for rich, cream-heavy bread pudding, fresh-baked croissants, and a little bit of fresh-cut wood, like sawdust or the scent of opening a cedar box. You may also detect just a hint of smoke.

As you take a sip, you'll taste those same baked goods. There's such a nice balance of tiramisu, pastry cream, salted caramel, and just a whole melange of toasty, malty sweetness... Definitely the most decadent of booze-heavy bread puddings. The whisky has a wonderful richness and viscosity that would make it a great staple on any home bar for these qualities alone.

However, what makes Benromach 10 a knockout is the transition from the arrival to the development. Just as soon as your tongue acclimates to the sweetness, you'll be hit with that wisp of smoke you smelled before. It's a stunning magic trick that leaves you thinking of baked Alaska or a slightly burnt marshmallow. After just one sip, you might find yourself literally basking in the afterglow of it all. In my opinion, this is how peat should be done: as a great supporting role rather than the star player.

Also: did I mention this is a Speyside malt? If there's ever been an indication that regional classifications are mostly meaningless and without merit (besides Islay, anyway), this is a great bottle to prove it. This ain't light and fruity: it's a total blockbuster with flavor to burn.

To top it all off, the price is more than reasonable at less than $55. It's easily one of my top 10 whiskies, and the only thing stopping you from buying more will be some nagging idea that you should be branching out. Benromach 10 is never a wrong answer to any scotch-related question.

Nose: Light smoke out of the bottle, with wood and pastry cream.
Taste: Lots of baked goods with chocolate sweetness and delicate smoke in the development.
Finish: Clings to the side of the tongue and leaves smoke on the exit.
Misc: Speyside, 43% ABV. 80% bourbon to 20% sherry casks. Whisky spends the last year in first-fill Oloroso.
Price: $50
Overall Rating

Who needs underdogs?