BenRiach

Pronounced ‘Ben re-ack’, meaning Brindled Mountain

Pronounced ‘Ben re-ack’, meaning Brindled Mountain

The distillery at BenRiach was built by John Duff to supplement the adjoining Longmorn Distillery, just south of Elgin in Speyside. After its completion in 1898, Duff built a minuscule private railway (no longer than a few hundred yards) between the two distilleries to facilitate the transportation of barley, peat, coal and casks. The locomotive used to pull the carriages was known as ‘Puggy’.
This picturesque arrangement was not to last long. Following on from the Pattison Crash in 1900, the stills at BenRiach ceased producing spirit. The distillery was thankfully saved from total destruction by its elder sibling Longmorn and ‘Puggy’ the steam locomotive, with Longmorn sourcing their malted barley from BenRiach’s floor maltings.

Sixty-five years later BenRiach was resurrected by Glenlivet Distillers Ltd. The stills were promptly fired up and full-time production continued until it came under the ownership of Pernod Ricard in 2001. In this year, it was only operated for three months as part of a rotational production scheme along with Alt A’Bainne, Braevel and Caperdonich. In 2002, they were all mothballed. However, in 2004 it was bought by the independent BenRiach Distillery Company and resumed full time production. In November, the original floor maltings that had saved BenRiach so many years before were restored, making it one of the only distilleries today that malts their own barley. The curious pear-shaped stills at BenRiach forge a sweet and fruity spirit, which is fed into a condenser that is positioned quite unusually on the outside of the stillhouse! Water is drawn from springs in the ground, deep below the distillery.

BenRiach was not produced as a single malt in any significant quantity until 2004, although a very small amount was made available as part of Seagrams Heritage Collection in 1994. Since 2004 however, they have concentrated an enormous amount of effort into created a wide range of expressions, and are unconventional among Speyside malts for the use of peat in some of their bottlings and the wide variety of cask finishes available.