Speyside’s Benromach Distillery recently added two new limited-edition whiskies to its Contrasts range.
The whisky maker noted that these new expressions offer variations on their signature smoky Benromach style, and they do so by aging the spirit in different ways.
The new whiskies, Contrasts Air Dried Oak and Contrasts Kiln Dried Oak, were distilled in 2012 and bottled in early 2023. The whiskies explore the subtle nuances and flavors that come from the different techniques used to dry the wooden staves that make up the casks.
Both whiskies clock in at 46% ABV, and both have a suggested price of £60. Both feature a lingering smoky finish … but each has different flavor profiles.
The distiller noted that one features oak that was air dried for three years before toasting, which imparted sweet vanilla fudge notes followed by peppermint and oak.
The kiln dried whisky features matured oak that was air dried for two years, then put in a kiln to speed up the drying process. The distiller’s notes show that this increased the interaction of spirit and wood, giving the whisky a sweeter nose of malted biscuit, with lemon barley sugar and mixed tropical fruit flavors.
Benromach’s distillery manager, Keith Cruickshank, said that these two new whiskies were created from a deliberate experiment to see if different approaches to drying wood might have an impact on the flavors.
“They demonstrate how small changes can have a significant effect on taste, and that’s the intriguing nature of the air- and kiln-dried variants,” he explained. “We usually use virgin oak casks only with our Contrasts Organic whisky, so it’s been a great chance to see how our traditional lightly peated spirit reacts to this cask type, as well as the air drying versus kiln drying stave preparation.”
For more information on the Contrasts range or how to get a bottle, check out www.benromach.com.