All about making whisky
Benrinnes remains relatively undiscovered, but is nevertheless well-known amongst whisky lovers. Its tumultuous history featured a succession of reconstructions and changes in ownership, until in 1925 it was finally given some stability by being incorporated into the Distillers Company Limited. This distillery, which was equipped with its own saladin box for malting its barley until 1984, is noted for its rather unconventional “partial triple distillation”. Although its rare official bottlings have remained in the shadows: The Flora & Fauna and Rare Malts collections, its most expressive whiskies are to be found on the independent bottlings market.
This independent bottler is without a doubt one of the most highly acclaimed in Scotland. It stands out, not for its age (though it is the oldest independent bottler in Scotland), but for its complete mastery of cask ageing. Gordon & MacPhail is the only bottler to have its own casks - carefully chosen for the purpose - filled by the distilleries themselves, instead of simply buying the ones suggested to them by the latter. This allows it to determine, in advance and with great precision, exactly how many years a whisky will need to reach ideal maturation.
Of all the existing specialist bottling ranges, Connoisseurs Choice is without doubt the oldest. The label underwent a few changes in the 1980s. Plainer and more restrained, it became two-toned with creams and browns. When segmentation by region of production region was adopted by the whisky industry in the early 1990s, the range changed its identity again. The label now shows a map of the region of Scotland where the malt comes from. To the delight of whisky enthusiasts, the range, which is always evolving, is now bottled at 43% and 46%.