Despite Benriach being a Speyside distillery and Speyside whiskies are not really known for peated whisky, this new 40 year old single malt highlights the forward thinkingness and innovation that Benriach had back in the 1970s when this malt was laid down.
Within the renowned whisky region of Speyside, numerous distilleries have gained widespread recognition, including Glenfiddich, The Glenlivet, Glen Grant, The Macallan, and Aberlour, among approximately 50 others. While Benriach may not enjoy the same level of fame as its counterparts, its prominence has increased since the distillery came under the ownership of Brown-Forman, the parent company of Jack Daniel's, in 2016. While the majority of Speyside distilleries do not produce peated whisky, occasionally featuring limited releases, Benriach has defied the regional norm by crafting smoky whisky for nearly five decades. This style is often associated with distilleries from Islay, such as Laphroaig, Lagavulin, and Ardbeg.
Between its establishment in 1900 and 1965, Benriach distillery took on a different role, serving as a floor malting facility responsible for producing malted barley used by various distilleries. However, it wasn't until a few years later that Benriach embarked on its own whisky production journey, employing peated barley as a vital ingredient in creating the distinct smoky flavor found in many beloved Scotch whiskies. It wasn't until 1994 that the first Benriach single malt was officially released. While most of the malted barley is now procured from large malting houses, Benriach keeps the smoky tradition alive with expressions like Smoke Season, incorporating peated barley, as well as featuring it in other releases such as the Smoky Ten and Smoky Twelve.
“Fine bourbon casks have gradually developed exquisite notes of honeyed pomelo and lush orchard fruits to create Benriach The Forty. Over the decades of maturation, the smoky character of peated Benriach spirit refines and mellows, transforming into ripe fruit sweetness. This intricate character is interwoven with dark notes of chocolate, rich plum and smooth walnut from port casks sourced from the Douro Valley.” ~ master blender Rachel Barrie
Benriach is releasing The Forty, a whisky that has undergone maturation in bourbon and port casks before being bottled at 43.5 percent ABV. To get your hands on a bottle of this highly anticipated release (SRP $4,500), be sure to keep an eye on both physical and online whisky retailers.
Benriach is a Scotch whisky distillery located in the Speyside region of Scotland. It has a rich history that dates back to its establishment in 1898. Over the years, Benriach has gone through various periods of operation and ownership changes, which have influenced its style and reputation.
One notable aspect of Benriach is its versatility in whisky production. While many distilleries in Speyside focus on non-peated expressions, Benriach has been known for its commitment to producing both peated and unpeated whiskies. This sets it apart from its regional counterparts and draws influence from the smoky traditions of distilleries in Islay.
In terms of maturation, Benriach often explores different cask types to impart distinct flavors and characteristics to its whiskies. From traditional bourbon casks to sherry casks and innovative wine casks, Benriach embraces experimentation and showcases a diverse range of expressions.
In 2016, Benriach gained attention when it was acquired by Brown-Forman, the parent company of Jack Daniel's. This acquisition brought increased recognition and resources to the distillery, helping to elevate its profile in the whisky industry.
Today, Benriach continues to produce a wide array of whiskies, ranging from smooth and fruity expressions to rich and smoky offerings. Its portfolio includes both age-stated releases and limited editions, allowing whisky enthusiasts to explore the depth and complexity that Benriach has to offer.