Sunday, 5 July 2009

Benriach Distillery

Benriach Distillery
Morayshire IV30 8SJ

Speyside, Scotland - Active

Flavour profile

Well, there it is. The 3 major flavour elements in Benriach whisky - bananas, lemons and peat. The peat, of course, is from the two peated whiskies that Benriach distillery produces (Curiositas and Authenticus), but all the whiskies display light notes of bananas and tangy lemons. The banana flavour is very unlike the sweet, intense banana notes one finds in bourbon. In Benriach whisky, it's light but flavourful, ethereal and silky.

The light banana flavours are in lockstep with tangy lemon, sometimes so tart that it tastes like lemon juice rather than the fruit itself. There's occasionally some bitterness that so often goes with lemon in whisky, but in this case I've caught it as white wine rather than lemon zest. The whole combination is rather refreshing.

All the Benriachs I've tasted so far are here.

Benriach 16 yo - good
Benriach 12 yo - good
Benriach 10 yo Curiositas - good
Benriach 21 yo Authenticus - good

Distillery history

Founded by the owner of Longmorn, John Duff and Co, in 1897. It changed hands several times, from John Duff to the Longmorn Distillery Company, then to the Glenlivet Distillers Ltd, then to Seagram, then to Chivas Regal (together with its sister distillery, Longmorn). When Pernod Ricard bought Chivas, Benriach was sold to a South African concern, Intra Trading. The distillery was silent from 1900-1965 (but not the maltings), in 1999 and from 2002 to 2004.

There are loads of official bottlings - 12, 16 and 20 years old, the peated Curiositas and Authenticus and several limited editions. The whisky used to go into Chivas Regal, I suppose Chivas still has some older casks it mixes into its blends. It also goes into Clan Murray and Something Special.

Potted distillery facts

Water source: Springs on site
Eight, stainless steel
Wash stills:
Two, long normal neck
Spirit stills: Two, long normal neck
Spirit still Lyne arm: ??
Production per year:
2,000,000 litres

- The Scottish Whisky Distilleries, Misako Udo

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