Today, Benromach is the smallest distillery in Speyside with a workforce of just two and a maximum capacity of a mere half million litres annually. Benromach was established in 1898, a year a great number of distilleries came into being. The distillery was built by the Benromach Distillery Company and situated to the north of Forres in Speyside.
Drawing its water from the Chapeltown springs, Benromach was one of the many Speyside distilleries designed by the renowned Charles Doig, the Elgin-based architect who was credited also for Aberlour, Dufftown and Balblair among many others. Benromach, whose name derives from the Gaelic for â€˜shaggy mountainâ€™, closed and reopened over the course of the 1930s. In 1983 it was mothballed. It was not until a decade later that the distillery was acquired from United Distillers by Gordon and MacPhail. Following the purchase, Gordon and MacPhail paraded it as a flagship distillery of the old school Speyside style. A more heavily peated malt was used, producing a fuller spirit.
Benromach was reopened officially by Prince Charles in 1998. Under Gordon and MacPhail's ownership, Benromach became the first distillery to release a Soil Association certified whisky with the 2006-released Organic.
Nose: Chocolate, caramel and wood smoke lead to a hint of new-trainer-sole rubber and rich maltiness â€“ Shreddies cereal and malt extract. The smokiness winds its way through the gaps, becoming wispy coal smoke trickling out of a stove filled with baking sultana-studded apples.
Palate: Rich, thick and rounded, with sultanas and raisins quickly overwhelmed by spicy peat smoke. The baked apples from the nose are revealed as the smoke blows away, sprinkled with spicy cinnamon and mint leaves. Chocolate-covered liquorice and Hob Nob biscuits appear, along with a touch of charcoal.
Finish: Singed fruit cake and sultana-heavy fruit loaf fade slowly away to leave tingling menthol, leafy mint and cocoa.