The Benriach distillery
Located to the south of Elgin on the way to Rothes, Benriach is also known as Longmorn II because the two distilleries are so incredibly similar. Benriach was born into chaos.
A victim of Pattisons’ devastating bankruptcy that led to the demise of several distilleries, following its purchases of whiskey on credit, the distillery closed after just two years. Only its malting floors remained operational, used in particular to supply Longmorn with malt. Distillation only resumed operation in 1965!
After an extension that increased the number of stills from two to four in 1985, Benriach changed hands in 2001 after having been bought by Pernod Ricard from Seagram, and once again swapped owners in 2004. Billy Walker, a leading name in the whisky industry, threw himself into this new project alongside two investors. The distillery’s stills began to bubble once more. Could this new beginning mark the end of the curse that has until now befallen the ‘hill of the red deer’? We’ll keep our fingers crossed.
Drawing on the support of three others including his son Alistair, Billy Walker is putting all of his energy and talent into launching a new, full range; so far only a 10-year-old whisky bottled by the distillery’s former owners has been released. Walker isn’t done surprising us quite yet, especially considering the latest versions of two vintage Benriach whiskies, limited editions that were much acclaimed by connoisseurs. The warehouses are home to an impressive stock of old barrels. The whiskies kept in the traditional warehouses (dunnages) bask in an extraordinary orange-infused light. Rachel Barrie has a host of new projects and ambitions for Benriach. Among these, he hopes to reopen the malting floors that were abandoned in 1999 but are still operational. There’s a clear desire here to make up for lost time.