P: Dark chocolate, citrus, vanilla pod, caramel, cinnamon, mace, dried fruits like yellow raisins and dates, gun powder, Brazil nut. Intertwined among these lovelies comes a draft of the Smoky God, courtesy of this whisky's Speyside peat.
I'm reminded of Balvenie's Peat Week, just a little. I like the impish tingle on my tongue at cask strength. This said, I'm still going to down the fire just a bit, even though it is quite palatable at full strength and I might prefer it that way on another occasion.
For example, if I go all day on a Saturday being henpecked by my wife, then I will take this whisky at full strength for sure in the evening, when I find a spare moment to escape from the tongue-lashing.
Finish: Medium-long with the peat and some tannins coming through, along with a swirling hint of date, nut meat, and vanilla pod. Altogether, this makes for a rich and rewarding departure of the spirit's essence, caught as 'tis within the watery tissues of one's mouth.
Early bottlings (especially the first) had older whisky in the batches, I think. Yes, for sure. Newer bottlings are more precise, however. Benromach has this one down to a "mad" science, ha! This said, there was a give and take to the early old skool bottling, for it had an off-cask (a bit moldy) that got into the run and muddled things up a bit. Not so with the newer batches.
The older 100 proof tasted more like Campbeltown than this one does. That one was a bit overblown in terms of its fan fair, I think. This one is less vintage tasting. By vintage, I'm talking about whisky from the 80's and 90's, which I remember well, and which I still own. This one's a solid choice but don't pay too much for a bottle.
IMO, the weaker 10 year at 43 percent is not bad. I prefer this CS version, but still. I feel that the 43 used to have some different casks. Not sure if it still does. A few years back, it wasn't just a watered down version of the CS. The 43 made a respectable gift to a person who enjoyed an occasional glass of whisky and wasn't like us (finatics ;).
Don't forget to experiment with water if you get this one. It's not bad at cask strength but a few drops will bring out more wonders for the nose and palate.
I'm a big fan of late 1980's style whisky, and so I miss the old 100 Proof, which I gave an "88" score. It was indeed more "old skool." I did find that the very first batch had an errant cask, but subsequent ones did not, unless I'm very much mistaken. At any rate, I found that my very first bottle of the Benromach 100 was a tad musty in a less than ideal way, but the rest were spot-on. I suppose it could have been a cork issue, but I remember no problems whatever with the cork and I surely would have noticed.