Benromach Cara Gold Malt is a limited release in the Contrasts range, presented early 2022. It uses a type of malt that is more common in beer breweries rather than whisky distilleries, with a proportion of Benromach‘s classic lightly peated malt. This results in a 12 ppm phenol level.
Benromach Contrasts: Cara Gold Malt 11 yo 2010 (46%, OB 2022, first fill bourbon, 6300 btl.)
Nose: quite bright, fruity and high-pitched. There are plenty of citrus notes (lemons, mineolas) as well as pineapple and passion fruit candy. Moreover there is a layer of toffee biscuits with peppery / gingery notes from the wood and hints of floral honey.
Mouth: a similar mix of malty notes and toffee at its core and plenty of bright notes at the top. Pineapple and lime, then oranges and hints of aniseed. Black peppercorns. Gentle dry smoke sets in, with vanilla custard and honey.
Finish: medium length, with lingering fruity notes and a hint of acrid and salty smoke as it dries out.
This is a successful experiment. The Cara Gold malt seems to add bright fruity notes which are highlighted by the bourbon oak maturation. Maybe not a game-changer in any way, but the price is reasonable so this offers good value for money. Available from The Whisky Exchange and TyndrumWhisky among other retailers.