Benriach is an extremely experimental whisky distillery in Scotland, in the heart of the Speyside. The distillery near Elgin has both mildly fruity classic Speyside whiskies and heavily smoky, oily single malts in its range. With an unpeated, peated and triple distilled range there is something interesting for every taste. Benriach has shown a good hand, especially in the area of wood finishing.
The Benriach Distillery near the Speyside town of Elgin is a prime example of what can be achieved with good barrel management. The distillery’s outstanding single malts have been used for many decades in the blended whisky industry. Single malt fillings were hard to come by. Fortunately, this changed with the era of Billy Walker. Today, even after the change of ownership to Brown Forman, Benriach has a remarkable portfolio of extravagant single malts with a wide variety of flavor profiles.
What does Benriach Single Malt taste like? Benriach single malts are relatively different. There are very light, dry, smooth Benriachs, typical Speyside whiskies with a variety of fruit flavors. But Benriach also has heavily peaty, oily, very smoky whiskies in the range. Such diversity is rare in the Speyside. Like many other distilleries in Scotland, Benriach has experimented with a whole range of interesting wood finishes. A great range of rum, sherry, Madeira and port wine cask finishes were brought onto the market.
How is Benriach whisky produced? Benriach produces its whisky with the help of a 6.1 ton mash tun, 8 fermentation tanks and 4 stills. The two wash stills and two spirit stills are heated with steam. The water for Benriach comes from the nearby Bourmade spring and the malt is malted in its own malting plant. The period from 1999 to 2009 is an exception: in 1999 the malt soils were closed by Benriach and only since 2009 has the barley been malted at Benriach itself.
The first Benriach Single Malt was bottled in 1994. Previously, one could only discover Benriach through independent bottlings, the majority of the Benriach single malt makes its way into blends. Benriach generally refrains from adding color and cooling filtering their whisky.
The Benriach Whisky Distillery was founded by John Duff in 1898, a boom year for the whisky industry. In the same year the distillery was taken over by the nearby Longmorn distillery. When the Patisson crash sent shockwaves through the industry Benriach went bankrupt and 1900 saw the closure of the distillery. Only the malting plant remained in operation and supplied Longmorn with malt. The distillery remained closed for more than half a century. It wasn’t until 1965 that the Glenlivet Group revived Benriach. In 1978 Glenlivet was bought up by Seagram. Seagram merged with the Chivas Brothers and since 2001 to Pernod Ricard. Benriach fell victim to a portfolio streamlining under Pernod Ricard. The distillery was to be closed again.
Fortunately, Billy Walker was a willing entrepreneur. With the help of the money from South African investors, he took over the distillery and breathed new life into it again in 2004. Billy Walker has proven himself particularly good when it comes to handling the barrel storage and finishing aged whisky. The distillery was therefore independent for a long time because it was operated by the Benriach Distillery Company Ltd. was operated. In 2016, the American company Brown Forman acquired the three distilleries Benriach, Glenglassaugh and Glendronach. Billy Walker continues his work at GlenAllachie.
|Name||Pronounced||AKA||Region||Country of Origin|
|Status||Active||Whisky Type||Website||Tours Available|
|Active||2004 - Present||Malt||BenRiach||Tour Link|
|Manager||Distiller||Blender||Owned by||Parent Group|
|Billy Walker||BenRiach Distillery Company|
....: Purchased by Longmorn Distillery Co. Ltd.
1900: Distillery went silent
1965: Rebuilt by The Glenlivet Distillers Ltd.. All stills became steamheated
1977: The Glenlivet Distillers Ltd. taken over by the Seagram Company Ltd. of Canada. Three stills. Floor maltings still in use
1990: Floor maltings in use again
1999: Owned by Chivas Brothers Ltd.
2004-May-4: Sold to Intra Trading (Bill Walker, formerly Burn Stewart, Geoff Bell & Wayne Kieswetter) for app. £ 5.4 million