Although BenRiach started producing malt whisky back in 1898, the distillery was a victim of unfortunate timing; BenRiach was operational for just two years before the ‘Pattison crash’, in 1900, resulted in a period of hardship for the entire whisky industry, and the resultant closure of many distilleries. The whisky makers at Longmorn continued to source some of their malted barley from the floor maltings at BenRiach, which had remained operational, and it was this alone that kept BenRiach alive during those ‘mothballed’ years.
Fast-forward to 2004, and the beginning of the most exciting period in BenRiach’s history. It was in April of that year that BenRiach became independent, having been purchased by The BenRiach Distillery Company Limited. This independent ownership allows the distillery to experiment with several interesting wood finishes and it continues to produce whisky from both peated and non-peated malted barley. The BenRiach portrays its own uniqueness through the particular methods and skills of the men who craft the whisky, the ingredients used, the distinctive copper stills and the high quality casks selected for maturation.
Our whisky, reflecting the skill, knowledge and experience that has gone into the making of The BenRiach is testimony to the many years stretching back to the 19th century during which the distillery built its reputation. Few distilleries in Scotland hold such a history and few today can have such an exciting future.
The story of BenRiach is typical of the great Speyside distilleries. Built in 1898, the distillery is sited amongst the rolling barley fields that rise to the foothills of the Grampian Mountains. The barley used in crafting the whisky was grown around the distillery and the water was, and still is, drawn through the rock that lies deep below the distillery. The barley, harvested from the fields surrounding the distillery, would be spread across the floors of the malting loft to germinate. Peat, cut from the hills, fired the kiln and produced the heat required to control the germination process, and the distinctive peat scented smoke would be seen curling upwards from the malting chimneys throughout the year. The distillery manager would oversee the slow and deliberate crafting process of The BenRiach whisky – managing the transformation from malted barley to wash, to distilled spirit and into high quality oak casks, in which the whisky would then mature. This was the beginning of the The BenRiach story.