Benromach Sassicaia Wood 2009

Benromach Sassicaia Wood 2009
Picture: The Whisky Exchange

Tonight I’ll be nosing and tasting the new Benromach Sassicaia Wood 2009. The Sassicaia Wood is one of Benromach's wine cask-finished malt whiskies. This Speyside single malt matured in ex-bourbon barrels and was finished for 28 months in Bolgheri red wine casks.

Benromach is up to its second iteration of the Sassicaia expression. The previous release of this wood finish was distilled in 2007. Benromach’s Wood Finish series also comprises a Ch√Ęteau Cissac and a Hermitage. That makes for two French wine - Bordeaux and Northern Rhone - and one Italian wine finish.

Sassicaia is a Bordeaux-style red wine from Tenuta San Guido in Bolgheri, Toscana. It's also known as a Super Tuscan wine.This DOC (Denominazione di origine controllato) wine must be aged for 26 months.  In fact, it is the only single estate in Italy that has been granted its own DOC. The wine is made from 85% Cabernet Sauvignon and 15% Cabernet Franc grapes. Tenuta San Guido produces around 180.000 bottles annually.

But enough on the wine. This is a whisky blog after all. Here are my tasting notes for the Benromach Sassicaia Wood 2009.

Identity Card Benromach Sassicaia Wood 2009

  • Official bottling from Benromach Distillery, Forres (Speyside)
  • 2009 Vintage - Bottled in 2017
  • Matured in ex-bourbon barrels, finished in Bolgheri Sassicaia wine casks
  • Alcohol: 45% ABV

Tasting Notes

Colour: A beautiful copper-red dram. Thick fast legs slide down on the glass.

Nose: The smoke is more apparent than in the classic 10-year-old. A dusty fruit cellar. Raspberry and currants. Liquid candy and grenadine. Pomegranate with bits of the bitter interior. Baby porridge with bananas and red fruits. Oak and tannins.
With water: Rock sugar and light brown sugar. Ginger and clove. Orange marmalade made from blood oranges.

Taste: Sharp spices. pepper, ginger and dried mint. Currants picked a bit too early. Tannins and Play-Doh. Sharp at the start but there's a pleasant sweet strawberry-like evolution.
With water: More sweetness. Red currants, stem ginger and dark chocolate. A slightly bitter touch of clove.

Finish: A dry smoky finish transforming into something spicy mixed up with mashed strawberries.

If you'd ask me to choose between the 10-year-old and the Sassicaia Wood I'd probably go for the classic and all-rounder 10 year old (in fact, since I got introduced to Benromach I always had either a  bottle of the 10 or the 100° proof in my cabinet). Does that mean the Sassicaia Wood is less good? Far from it. It's less of an all-rounder and more a dessert dram after dinner. I bet this is a perfect match with something like cranachan.

I started looking for a bottle of the wine while the memory of the whisky was still fresh. It could be very interesting to pair the wine with the Benromach Sassicaia Wood 2009. At least, that was until I started noticing the price of these top-notch Italian wine. I wasn't exactly counting on £125 for a bottle...

Sample disclosure: The Benromach Sassicaia Wood 2009 sample was offered by Benromach. Opinions expressed in this review are of course my own.

Image credit: Benromach