Founded in 1897 and built in 1898 the distillery sits within the Speyside region of Scotland’s whisky production.
Built in a “ boom” period for whisky production the 1890s witnessed around 33 licensed distilleries built and with 21 of these located within Speyside it showed the region was the perfect setting for the production of whisky.
Just two short years later the distillery closed its doors for a 65 year sleep due to the massive impact on the industry from the “ Patterson crash “
The saving grace for the Distillery was the floor maltings which were used in conjunction with its sister distillery at that time Longmorn..
The warehouses were also used by Longmorn and these two factors probably saved the distillery from destruction.
Another rich period in the history of whisky production saves the distillery when Glenlivet Distillers Ltd reopens Benriach due to the growing demand for whisky to be exported into the USA.
Today production at Benriach is done under the American ownership of Brown Forman who took over the company in 2016 along with Glendronach and Glenglassaugh.
Capacity at Benriach is around 2.8 million litres of alcohol per year although actual production is short of this figure. The distillery is equipped with a 5.8 ton cast iron mash tun with stainless steel shell, 8 stainless steel washbacks and two pairs of stills.
Production is split in order to produce both un peated whisky, peated ( around 240,000 litres ) and a small amount of triple distilled spirit ( around 35,000 litres) .
The Original Ten
Released as part of the new core range, and boasting the new style label and packaging, this 10 year old is now rather fetching as it sits on the shelf, the bold white labels in my opinion is rather eye catching..
Matured in three types of cask ( Virgin oak, ex Bourbon barrels and Sherry casks ) and released in the traditional benriach style of natural colour..
Age.. 10 years
Casks.. Virgin Oak, Ex Bourbon and Sherry casks
Nose.. There is a distinct sweetness here with Vanilla, sticky toffee pudding and candied orange, hints of cinnamon drift in and out along with Turkish delight ( the chocolate covered style ) a soft pine aroma that is determined to hide out in the background brings in the freshness of a garden in bloom on a damp day, wet grass underfoot and the freshness of the damp air surrounds you..
Palate.. A soft lemon note hits the palate first but then fades into freshly peeled apple, fresh orange segments, warm apple pie with cinnamon, peach and a delicate plum note arrives just as you find manuka honey which gives it a soft earthy note while espresso coffee notes become evident..
Finish.. Soft with fading spices and a delicate sweetness
The Smoky Ten
Again launched in 2020 along with the re – brand, this smokey version of the ten year old is also matured in 3 styles of cask although this time the line up is Virgin oak, ex bourbon barrels and Jamaican rum casks..
Age.. 10 years
Casks.. Virgin oak, ex bourbon barrels and Jamaican rum casks..
Nose.. Gentle wafts of smoke wraps itself around baked apple pie, Plum pudding with a rich toffee sauce, ginger biscuits and brandy snaps filled with fresh cream.. There are soft spices meandering throughout, all the time battling with the sweetness that desperately tries to dominate without success..
Palate.. The smoke drifts in and out like a steam train passing by, then a soft sweetness slowly overtakes and opens into a crescendo of fresh fruits, syrup and chocolate bounty bars, ginger biscuits and peanut brittle..
Finish.. The smoke hangs around and plays on the tongue whilst the spices warm the lips..
Thoughts.. Both these drams bring something totally different to the table whilst still giving so many similarities, both offer a very typical speyside character and the fruitiness is very evident in both expressions.
The smoky ten does feel like it has a little more complexity and depth, the smoke adds an extra dimension whilst remaining soft and not too dominant.. There is a real impression of old style whisky making in the Smoky ten, it feels like it takes you back to the old days of steam trains, simple living and good old entertainment..
The original ten feels like it drags you back into reality, its freshness and floral notes wake you just like walking in the fresh air, smelling the flowers that surround you, the dampness in the air that softens the face and those moments stolen whilst sitting on a bench contemplating, wishing life could be this simple all the time..
These two drams could cover so many occasions, drinking styles and moods, simple whisky can often do that though, we often we get hung up over what we think will bring us happiness when so often its simply staring you right in the face, just reach out and grab it..
Whisky should not be complicated, it is generally those surrounding it that make it complicated and thankfully Benriach have given us a whisky that is so easy to drink, its simplicity is its strength.. Just sit back and ride your thoughts..
Both samples were kindly sent by Benriach for review purpose only..