Founded in 1898 by John Duff, the original Benriach was short-lived; following monetary difficulties the distillery was sold to the Longmorn Distilleries Company who closed it at the turn of the twentieth century. Benriach, named for the Gaelic for "speckled mountain", was one of the few distilleries with its own floor maltings, following closure they remained in use, supplying neighbouring Longmorn.
The upturn in whisky's fortunes in the 1960s saw Benriach run from 1965 onwards under new owners The Glenlivet Distillers, before Seagrams purchased the distillery in 1978. In 1985 two extra stills were added bringing the total to four. The floor maltings were in use again and remained so continuously until 1999. When Pernod Ricard took over Seagram's whisky division in 2001 Benriach was mothballed, but in April of 2004, Benriach was sold, along with several thousand casks, for £5.4million to the South African company, Infra Trading, combining their efforts with Burn Stewart director Billy Walker. They reopened the distillery the following year and soon established the Benriach Distilling Co.
In 2008, the Benriach Distilling Co acquired a second distillery from Chivas Brothers in the shape of GlenDronach, before adding Glenglassaugh Distillery to its portfolio in 2013. Brown-Forman, the Louisville, Kentucky-based producer of Jack Daniel's, in-turn bought the Benriach Distilling Co in 2016 for £281 million.
Today, Benriach is back in full production and has become a firm favourite for many Scotch whisky fans since it was reinvigorated under Walker and co. It has cemented a reputation as an unconventional whisky distiller with some of the most experimental casks in Speyside. Benriach distils three malt whisky styles - unpeated, peated and triple distilled - and is one of the two remaining Speyside distilleries to use malted barley from its own on-site floor maltings, which were reopened in 2013.
The Twenty One is matured for 21 years in a rather intriguing combination of casks – bourbon barrels, sherry casks, virgin oak casks, and Bordeaux red wine casks. Fruity notes blend brilliantly with warming oak and fragrant wafts of smoke – an exceptional whisky from Dr. Rachel Barrie and her team.
Nose: Buttered hot cross buns, old oak furniture, toasty peat, sherried peels, pecans.
Palate: Raisins, sultanas, nutty brown bread, smoky cedar with subtle sweetness to it, dark chocolate lingering later on.
Finish: A slow build of peppercorn and clove on the finish, balanced by dried cherry and almond.