Beinn Dubh Black Single Malt
It’s been some time since I carried out a review. Unfortunately my day job got in the way for the past 7 weeks and although I had tasted a Tomatin to post a review whilst offshore, the tasting notes I made went missing.
Keeping it a bit more local than Tomatin, I’ve chosen a single malt that can’t get any more local if it tried – I can see the distillery from my house. One of the smaller whisky distilleries, the Speyside whisky distillery is slowly making a big name for itself. Founded in 1965, it took 25 years to start producing spirit. Previously it sold whisky under the name Drumguish, referencing the hamlet the distillery is located in. The signature malts of Tenne, Truitina and Fumare have been received well world-wide, with an 18 y.o, Byron’s Choice, Royal Selection and Chairman’s Choice also available.
However, it is not one of these malts we are here to review, it’s an unusual black whisky called Beinn Dubh, which is Scots Gaelic for the Black Mountain. Black whisky isn’t unheard of. There was the notorious Loch Dhu whisky from Mannochmore distillery which was definitely a love it or hate it dram. Most hated it. It still has a cult following, and whilst discontinued, prices at auction remain steady.
Is this black whisky one which is drinkable? Only one way to find out, and I volunteer to take a hit for the team!
Beinn Dubh does not have an age statement. However I’d guess while there is an element of young whisky there, the nose suggests older spirit in there to back it up.
This malt is bottled at 43% a.b.v
This dram is as dark as the ace of spades. When I poured a measure into my jigger, I couldn’t see the bottom. Whilst I could believe some of the colour may be cask influenced, I suspect a good dose of E150a caramel colouring is present.
As common with many Speyside region whiskies, this one has a powerfully sweet nose. I hate to say it as I feel it’s a cliche, but an aroma of Christmas cake, plum, raisins, dried fruits hits you. I also detected a slight malt vinegar smell there, but it was brief, and the fruity smells dominated.
I got a surprise here. There were very slow, treacle-like legs. Indeed, after a swirl around the glass, the spirit seemed to coat the glass like plaster.
No real spirit kick here. My mouth was coated in spirit, and yet no burn. Very pleasant mouth feel. Slight hints of dark chocolate and red wine, which is appropriate for this whisky, as it has been aged in port casks.
This is where the spirit got me. A wee bit of a kick as I swallowed. Then back to the fruits. Christmas cake is actually quite appropriate for a product of a distillery which first produced spirit on Christmas Day 1990. Medium length finish with cherries and chocolate essences to end. Slight bitter taste there too; perhaps that is the influence of the colouring?
Not the strongest tasting of whiskies, but not unpleasant either. I feel the bottling strength is spot on, enabling you to taste the richness without the burn.
Do I hate it as some hated Loch Dhu? No. I’m a big lover of cake, so certain parts of the profile are pretty pleasing. Is it a go-to dram? No. For me, it’s a novelty product, and while I wanted to dislike it for that reason, I couldn’t. To be fair, while it may not be for everybody, I didn’t find it bad, but I just know of a lot better.
It isn’t one of the most full of flavour whiskies. While the bottle says nothing about chill filtering, I suspect this is chill filtered. After all, with a black whisky, what is the point? You’ll never see the Scotch mist amongst the dark liquid.
In summary, this is a good whisky as a conversation point, pleasant and not too overpowering, but definitely a gimmick. When my bottle is finished, I may replace it, but only as a collectors piece. I’ll stick to the sherry bombs of Speyside as my more regular choice. For approximately £50 a bottle, you can find better drams for the same price or less, but if like me, curiosity gets the better of you, then go for it if you see it on offer. There are a lot worse than this.