Currency and Delivery Country

We're just loading our login box for you, hang on!

Benriach Whisky

Benriach Distillery was founded in 1898 by John Duff. The Speysider has overcome a chequered history that began with opening just a year before The Pattison crash of 1899 followed by years of dormancy or changing of hands. Following monetary difficulties the distillery was sold to the Longmorn Distilleries Company, who closed it at the turn of the twentieth century. Benriach, named for the Gaelic for ‘speckled mountain’, saw an upturn in fortunes in the 1960s, however, and from 1965 onwards was run by new owners The Glenlivet Distillers. Seagrams purchased the distillery in 1978, then in 1985 two extra stills were added bringing the total to four. When Pernod Ricard took over Seagram’s whisky division in 2001 Benriach was mothballed, but in April of 2004, Benriach was sold, along with several thousand casks, for £5.4million to the South African company, Infra Trading, combining their efforts with Burn Stewart director Billy Walker. They reopened the distillery the following year and soon established the Benriach Distilling Co. In 2008, the Benriach Distilling Co acquired a second distillery from Chivas Brothers in the shape of GlenDronach, before adding Glenglassaugh Distillery to its portfolio in 2013. Brown-Forman, the Louisville, Kentucky-based producer of Jack Daniel's, in-turn bought the Benriach Distilling Co in 2016 for £281 million. Today, Benriach is back in full production and has become a firm favourite for many Scotch whisky fans since it was reinvigorated under Walker and co. It has cemented a reputation as an unconventional whisky distiller with some of the most experimental casks in Speyside. Benriach ranks among the few distilleries in Scotland to still have operational floor maltings, one that was restarted in 2012 after it was closed in 1996. It also makes three different types of spirit, double distilled unpeated and peated as well as triple-distilled peated whisky. That’s not typical at all. Benriach could basically blend in-house if it wanted to. The process of making Benriach whisky starts with barley varieties from Concerto to Laureate. The floor maltings are only open for eight weeks a year and give just one day’s worth of barley to distill, with master blender Dr. Rachel Barrie only getting just over 20 casks for the first malting season launch. But it was the first 100% floor malted whisky since Benriach opened. The method here is all about generating a fruity, malty new make and that starts with unfiltered water containing calcium carbonate at concentrations around 180mg, which is defined as being “very hard” water by WHO. That’s the first catalyst, a hard water that will let the mineralogy play in the fermentation, then a stainless steel traditional mash tun mixes the grist with the water at different temperatures across four washes. The four water mashing system separates it from a fair amount of distilleries, who do three, as Benriach wants access to as much sugary water sweetness as possible and this method allows them to extract the most soluble sugars. Warm water is added to the grist and then the solution is drained off before water at a higher temperature is added in stages at 65.5 degrees Celsius, then 76, 84, and 93. Think of it like a gentle simmer as opposed to boiling the vegetable (that is barley in this case) to death. The resulting wort is high in clarity and retains very little cereal. Dave Broom remarked that it almost looks like black tea. Too many cereals in the wort can inhibit the copper contact in the still as they build a layer of flour, almost like fur. Onto fermentation, where eight 33,000-litre stainless steel washbacks installed in 1977 convert the wort into an 8% ABV beer-like wash, which is already sweet and bursting with green apple flavours. That’s because Benriach practices very long fermentations, sometimes as long as 100 hours, but on average it’s closer to around 85 hours. This is a day or two longer than the industry standard and goes beyond generating yield, giving the yeast time to form those bright fruity flavours. Benriach is also focused on slow distillation with high copper contact. The slender, relatively tall pear-shaped stills (making pear-shaped spirit, you could say) installed in 1985 don’t have or need any reflux equipment fitted, while the shell and tube condenser is outside the building and the lyne arm hardly has a decline. The light, fruity spirit is instead generated by the profile of the wash going into the stills (30,000 litres split into two wash stills of 20.912 litres capacity), the shape of the still, and the process itself, which is run low and slow, around six hours. The middle cut is a wide 13 minutes as the distillers want a number of foreshorts to drive more high ester compounds so they cut the spirit lower than most. They also dip a little lower for the peated spirit to encourage a slightly sweeter cereal note. Just that 1% or ten minutes more distillation time makes that difference. The peaty version of Benriach is produced for one month a year and then over a week is spent cleaning all the equipment thoroughly. Benriach’s six dunnage warehouses have the classic thick stone walls, low ceilings, and earthern floors, with whisky as old as 50-years-old and over 40 different cask styles filled with one of four spirit types: classic, peated, triple distillated, or floor malted barley spirit. The Brown-Foreman connection means The Louisville Kentucky Cooperage now supplies great casks in-house, which allows more money for the always expensive sherry cask bill.

Read more
Sort by
Relevance
Price
Advanced search
Age in years
All
Bottling year
All
Vintage
All
Alcohol by volume
All
Distilleries & brands
User rating
Bottle size
Show
30
Showing 1 - 30 out of 238
Sort by
Relevance