We invited Speyside legends, BenRiach Distillery, to create something special for Australia’s biggest community of whisky lovers – and they’ve hit back with a luscious, world-first rare release just for us!
Intent on treating our Members, award-winning Master Blender and undisputed queen of whisky, Dr Rachel Barrie, hand-selected and bottled an impeccable Small Batch from a parcel of first-fill American oak ex-Bourbon casks laid down in 2010. Cut at 46% ABV, non-chill filtered and natural colour, this unrepeatable Limited Edition is the first ever 100% first-fill American ex-Bourbon Single Vintage from The BenRiach and a must have for every single malt lover.
Velvety, mouthwateringly complex, rich and fruity, this exquisite one-off Scotch whisky is a true collector’s dram and an extremely rare style of BenRiach that follows hot on the heels of Dr Barry’s first Club Exclusive, July’s hugely popular sold-out 2007 Glendronach PX Cask. A whisky of this calibre is not to be missed at just $110 a bottle.
Join Australia’s biggest community of whisky lovers Free before midnight this Sunday, 6 October to get your hands on a bottle while stocks last!
All current and new Members receiving our BenRiach whisky of the month automatically go into the draw to win a bottle of the spectacular BenRiach 35 Year Old, valued at $1400! Plus, the winner and 3 mates will be treated to a private whisky masterclass and taste their way through a selection of rare and old BenRiachs.
Country of Origin:
The story begins back in the mid-1870s when former publican and GlenDronach manager John Duff was about to embark on a wild ride of whisky success. A visionary and dreamer, Duff built the impressive Glenlossie distillery in 1876. He enjoyed success and growth as the whisky market went from strength to strength, prompting him to look to overseas opportunities. A move to South Africa in 1888 was short-lived thanks to the president of the country’s mission against anything British, and unfazed by a similar fate to his efforts in the USA he moved back to Scotland and in 1894 partnered with George Thomson and Charles Shirres to build Longmorn Distillery. Their malt was a hit with blenders, so after investing £20,000 into Longmorn, Duff bought Thomson and Shirres out of their shares, hoping to reap the rewards for himself. It was boom time, after all, so he decided to go all-in and punted a further £16,000 to build Benriach (meaning ‘speckled mountain’) Distillery in 1898.
It seemed like a good idea at the time. The whisky industry was booming, and conveniently Benriach and Longmorn were able to be joined by a private railroad on which ‘The Puggy’, a steam locomotive, used to transport coal, barley, peat and barrels. A fantastic set up by all accounts in the golden years of whisky making, but sadly the good times weren’t going to last, and what seemed like a good idea at the time ended out ultimately becoming Duff’s downfall.
You see Benriach was just one of at least 33 Scottish distilleries established in the industrial boom of the late 1890s to cater for consumers’ ever-growing thirst for the golden nectar, 21 of which were also in Speyside… 100 points if you can guess what happened next… Yes, it all came crashing down in 1899 when Pattison’s, one of the major buyers at the time, went into liquidation in what is now known as ‘The Pattison Whisky Crisis’. An all-too-familiar tale of boom and bust.
The fires under the Benriach stills were soon put out, the distillery closed after only two years, though its malting floor remained in use by Longmorn. It was an unbelievable 65 years until the spirits flowed through the stills once more, when Glenlivet Distillers Ltd bought Benriach in 1965, only to sell to Seagram’s in 1977. And so it continued as a second set of stills was added in 1985.
In 1994, BenRiach (note the new capital R in the name) became a brand unto itself with the release of the first-ever BenRiach 10 Year Old Single Malt. Growth ensued up to the point Seagram’s was acquired by Pernod Ricard in 2001 and the distillery incredibly wound back operations to just three months of the year, only to be subsequently mothballed in 2002.
However, come 2004 the tables finally turned, and whisky history was made when the distillery was acquired by an independent consortium led by industry legend Billy Walker, backed by Wayne Kieswetter and Geoff Bell – a couple of whisky mad South Africans (funnily enough, given Duff’s experience with that country). The BenRiach Distillery Company Limited was born and BenRiach won its independence.
Not keen to sit around, the guys turned BenRiach into a bit of cult distillery and expanded their portfolio in 2008 with the acquisition of the GlenDronach Distillery (another link to Duff!) followed by the Glenglassaugh distillery in March 2013. Good work seldom goes unnoticed, particularly when that work involves reviving three distilleries to cult status. Following their acquisition by Brown Forman in 2016 for a record sum of £281 million, the three distilleries are now under the watchful eye (and nose) of Dr Rachel Barrie.
About BenRiach Whisky:
BenRiach is famous for its incredibly wide range of whiskies. Creativity is the name of the game, with three different styles of malt in production – unpeated, peated, and triple distilled, as well as some rather experimental casks. Not only that, it’s one of only two remaining Speyside distilleries to still do on-site floor maltings. Their stills are traditional onion-shaped copper pot stills, but interestingly don’t have the boiling reflux bubble in the neck.
The distillery’s core range includes the Flagship range of unpeated whisky and includes NAS, 10, 12, 21, 25, and 35 Year Olds, as well as the Peated range featuring NAS, 10, 21, and 30 Year Olds. The core range has grown over the years to include the Limited Release range, featuring an ever-increasing number of special and curious releases that have earned BenRiach its cult status amongst serious malt enthusiasts.
As mentioned above, BenRiach likes to get creative and as such use a wide range of cask types to mature their whisky, and are all generally matured in American oak casks before being finished in a wide range of casks including Pedro Ximénez, Madeira, Dark Rum, Tawny Port, Claret, Burgundy and Rioja.
While these cask finishes are great, they also introduce so many flavours to the whisky, you simply never get a chance to experience the rather unique BenRiach spirit without the extra cask influence. And that’s a real shame. While there have been a small number of super hard-to-get American oak Single Cask releases, we’ve got a real coup this month – the world’s first-ever 100% first-fill American oak ex-Bourbon cask single vintage vatting from BenRiach, and it’s been created exclusively for Club Members!
Master Blender Dr Rachel Barrie and her team have hand-selected a range of exceptional ex-Bourbon casks laid down in 2010, vatted and bottled them at 46% ABV, non-chill filtered and natural in colour of course. The result is something truly special, and a rare glimpse at BenRiach’s spirit in its purest form; velvety smooth, beautifully complex and love at first sip. A rich and fruity feast of sweet bourbon oak and caramelised fruit perfectly balanced with lemon peel, decadent crème brûlée and just a touch of honey… rounded off with a long, lingering creamy vanilla finish that will have you coming back for a second helping – and many more.
Of course, it goes without saying that this is a hugely collectible one-off whisky, but it’s also stunningly delicious, so do yourself a favour and avoid the “should I drink it, or should I keep it” dilemma, and be sure to hit the Double Up button and grab a spare for the shelf. You know you want to.
$110 per bottle + $15 flat fee postage
Age on release:
9 years old, 2010 vintage
Matured in first fill American oak ex-Bourbon casks
BenRiach quick facts
Place of origin: By Elgin, Morayshire, IV30 8SJ, Scotland, United Kingdom
Water source: Burnside Springs
Washbacks: Stainless steel
Number of stills: 2 wash and 2 spirit
Capacity: 2,800,000 litres of alcohol per year
Nose: Sweet bourbon oak and mountain herbs with lemon peel and crème brûlée
Palate: Honey, caramelised fruit and toasted oak
Finish: Lingering creamy vanilla
Salted caramel ice cream