Discover BenRiach's fascinating history and its saga of revival.
Whisky is more than just a combination of grains, yeast, and water. While these ingredients form its foundation, whisky's allure lies in the captivating stories woven into each drop. As avid enthusiasts, we’ve come to appreciate the enjoyment that comes from knowing its tales. Born from the ashes of the Victorian whisky boom in 1898, BenRiach’s narrative is a fascinating and lengthy saga of revival, renewed vision, and a relentless pursuit of excellence.
The Speyside region is the undisputed beating heart of Scottish single malt whisky production. Accounting for an impressive 60% of Scotland's single malt yield, the region's dominance in the whisky world is far from a chance happening. Lured by the abundant, soft, mineral-rich water and superior, fertile soils, perfect for barley cultivation, distilleries have made a beeline to this whisky Eden.
In the midst of this whisky-drenched landscape, the BenRiach Distillery stands testament to steadfast perseverance and an unwavering spirit of innovation, a bright beacon illuminating the timeless appeal of a beautifully crafted Scotch whisky. The company was launched in 1898 by John Duff during the height of the Victorian whisky boom, when blenders could not get enough of the fragrant, sweet, sophisticated malts of Speyside. However, as it is with any good story, a twist was just around the corner. By 1900, the economic downturn in the whisky market had put a damper on production. And yet, it wasn't all doom and gloom. Even during these low times, the distillery's malting floors kept turning out quality malt for its neighbouring operation, Longmorn Distillery.
Demand returned in the 1960s, with Glenlivet Distillers Ltd. Bringing the distillery back from its extended slumber in 1965, marking a fresh chapter in the BenRiach tale. Under the new management, the distillery expanded to include four stills by 1985, thanks to an investment from Seagrams. A succession of ownership changes and a brief pause in production in 2001, post Pernod Ricard’s takeover, added further character to BenRiach’s journey.
The year 2004 brought with it an infusion of new blood when it was sold to a consortium of three entrepreneurs, led by veteran distiller Billy Walker, with backing from the South African company Infra Trading. This move sparked a revival and saw the distillery expand its reach with the acquisitions of GlenDronach and Glenglassaugh Distilleries in 2008 and 2013 respectively.
The story entered a new era in 2016, under the stewardship of Kentucky-based Brown-Forman, renowned for producing the legendary Jack Daniel's. Since then, thanks to Walker's influential tenure and the arrival of Rachel Barrie in 2017, BenRiach has maintained full production, gaining a robust following amongst whisky enthusiasts.
As the distillery's Master Blender, Rachel Barrie continues BenRiach's legacy of crafting extraordinary whiskies. Her approach is both scientific and artistic, evoking a deep understanding of whisky-making, while applying creative flair to each expression she crafts. Barrie's influence at BenRiach has been transformational, blending the old with the new. Today, BenRiach produces three malt whisky styles – unpeated, peated, and triple distilled – while continuing to experiment with an eclectic selection of casks from around the world.
Join us as we celebrate the highly awaited return of the beloved expression 'The Sixteen'. This award-winning single malt, retired in 2016 and named 'Best Speyside Single Malt' at the World Whisky Awards, has made a comeback. The Sixteen, matured for at least sixteen years in ex-bourbon, sherry, and virgin oak casks, seamlessly fits between BenRiach's 12- and 21-year-old offerings, aptly referred to by Barrie as the "missing piece" in their single malt line-up. The distinct BenRiach whiskies, whether peated or unpeated, embody a sweet, fruity style, reminiscent of the historic character of Speyside whiskies. From its tumultuous beginnings to its innovative present, BenRiach, a distillery that refuses to be anything but remarkable.
Enhanced by extra years in wood the citrus and vanilla tones establish themselves, developing a well rounded malt that expresses the style as a complete but undemanding whisky.
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Meet The Master Blender – Dr Rachel Barrie
This coming September, Glengarry is delighted to invite you to a special tasting event, a rare chance for whisky aficionados to explore these distilleries with the Master Distiller herself! We're privileged to announce that Dr. Rachel Barrie from GlenDronach, BenRiach, and Glenglassaugh will be joining us and taking us through the rich history and revivals of both Benriach and The GlenDronach. With BenRiachs steadfast perseverance and an unwavering spirit of innovation and GlenDronach’s expertise of sherry cask maturation, this tasting is an opportunity you won't want to miss!
This special occasion celebrating the launch of the new BenRiach 16 year old deserves a special lineup so we will taste a vertical from each of BenRiach and The GlenDronach and a special single cask from each distillery.
BenRiach The Original Ten
BenRiach The Twelve
BenRiach The Sixteen
BenRiach 27 Year Old Cask 1858
The GlenDronach 12 Year Old
The GlenDronach 15 Year Old
The GlenDronach 21 Year Old
The GlenDronach Grandeur Batch 11 28 Year Old
When | 7:00pm Monday 18 September
Where | Glengarry Wines
118 Wellesley St West
Price | $55.00