The Thistle Pub

A wee slice of Scotland in Paris

BENRIACH

SPEYSIDE

Michael Jackson describes it as cookie-like! Certainly a sweet, easy-going Speysider although there are heavily peated exceptions.

John Duff, the owner and founder of the Longmorn Distillery, built Benriach in 1898. The distillery is situated a quarter of a mile away from Longmorn, just three miles south of Elgin. The distillery was only open for two years before it was closed.

Although the distillery was closed until 1965 the maltings at the distillery continued to provide malt for the Longmorn distillery. Glenlivet Distilleries Ltd then rebuilt the distillery in 1965 before the company joined the Seagrams Group in 1977. An official distillery bottling was introduced in 1994 with the majority of production being used as a component of the Chivas Regal blend. BenRiach is located in the ?Heart of Speyside?, mid-way between the village of Rothes and the town of Elgin, in the North-East of Scotland.

The distillery sources its water from springs located underground, deep below the distillery, and has the capacity to produce over 2 million litres of pure alcohol per annum. Approximately 10% of new production is peated / 90% unpeated. The distillery is managed by Alan MacConnochie, who has worked at Tobermory, Laphroaig, Bunnahabhain and Ben Nevis malt whisky distilleries, and also at the Plymouth Gin distillery.

In April 2004 a consortium bought the distillery led by Billy Walker, a highly respected gentleman who has worked in the whisky industry for over three decades. The new owners have treated malt lovers to an impressive and imaginative range that received rave reviews from Jim Murray, and included a fascinating pair of bottlings made up of peaty spirit. Interestingly, this is a return to the traditional production methods employed over 100 years ago, when peat represented a cheaper fuel option than coal and all Speyside malts were peated. It was only with the development of the rail roads that improved infrastructure meant that, certainly for mainland distilleries, it was more economical to use coal instead of peat to fire the kiln. As such all Speyside distillers switched from peat to kiln and only the island distilleries continued to use peat, explaining why Islay malts, to this day, tend to be heavily peated. Benriach are one to watch!

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