BenRiach is a Speyside distillery located between Rothes and Elgin in North-East Scotland. It was founded in 1898 by John Duff and was taken over by Seagrams in 1975 who became part of Pernod Ricard in 2001. Then they duly mothballed it in 2002, saying that the current stocks would be sufficient for future demand.

In 2004 Billy Walker, along with two others bought the distillery and created a privately owned company called The BenRiach Distillery Co. Ltd.


My thanks to Teun van Wel for permission to copy & use the distillery photos

Some more great distillery info here, thanks to Malt Madness


BenRiach has four traditional pot stills, each with a capacity of 9-15,000 litres and the total distillery capacity is just under 3 million litres of pure alcohol per year. The distillery also has its own maltings on site.


General whisky characteristics: Fruity, floral and some butterscotch




Distillery bottlings



BenRiach, 10y, 43% ABV

Original cost of this bottle; €€€€€ (70cl not mini)


Glass: Spiegelau

Colour: Pale yellow

Nose: Delicate honey with floral undertones.

Palate: Immense flora waltzing across the whole palate, slightly dry with occasional nuts and even a touch of blackberry.

Finish: Long, slightly dry nuttiness.

Overall Impression: An enjoyable experience.

I revisited this whisky a few days later but using the Classic Malts glass;

Nose; Floral undertones are still present, but the honey element is now more of a slightly bitter one, perhaps akin to straw and wet leaves. No change in the palate, finish or my overall impression. Still an enjoyable dram.



BenRiach, 12y, 46% ABV

Matured in Sherry Wood

Original cost of this bottle; €€€€€

Reviewed as part of MMA 2011


Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Rich amber

Nose: An initial burst of oaky traditional wax furniture polish, then turning more fruity with suggestions of black cherries and creamy mango. All finished off with hints of Brasso.

Palate: Lots of dark fruits with figs, currants and black cherries with a very creamy mouth-feel albeit slightly dry. Is there a hint of custard on those fruits? Perhaps even some almond?

Finish: Long rich and slightly dry.

Overall Impression: A most enjoyable whisky and good value for money.



BenRiach, 20y, 43% ABV

Original cost of this bottle; €€€€€ (70cl not mini)


Glass: Spiegelau

Colour: Gentle gold

Nose: Smooth and creamy, faint leather and lavendar with just a touch of coriander.

Palate: Very creamy feel with mainly dry nuts and that hint of leather. Not fierce but really quite richly civilised, if a little dry in the finish.

Finish: Very long, slightly dry nuttiness.

Overall Impression: Ten years do make a difference, but not such a big one, this is more civilised, rich and creamy than the 10y, but most certainly a very close relation in flavour profile. Again a thoroughly enjoyable experience.



BenRiach, 34y, 1976 - July 2011, 57.8% ABV

Cask 6942, Butt, bottle No.463 of 469

Original cost of this bottle; €€€€€

Reviewed as part of MMA 2011


Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Dark and glowing deep rich amber

Nose: Oak embers glowing richly at the end of a bonfire or BBQ. Very rich, almost toasted but not quite such a 'burnt' effect. Hints of heavily sherried biscuit and then a fruity suggestion of hot prunes with custard.

Palate: An initial gentle fruitiness bursts forth to massive dark fruits. Think mainly black cherries prunes and figs. This fruitiness has the suggestion of being lightly cooked or warmed on a base of biscuit.

Finish: Very long, rich, fruity and lightly nutty. Delightful.

Overall Impression: Wonderful whisky. A true "Great" for me!



BenRiach, distilled 1976, 56% ABV


Author's Note: At the tasting of this whisky (in 2006) we were informed that this will be a component of the forthcoming Benriach 30y OB

Nose: Light and floral with spicy undertones

Palate: Very delicate, possibly even more so than the light nose would suggest, but containing a complex assortment of fruit and flowers.

Finish: Medium in length with distinct apricot

Overall Impression: A very delicate dram for its age, but no lesser one for it. Well worth a try.




BenRiach, 35y, 1976 - Oct 2011, 45.3% ABV

Cask 3010, Hogshead, bottle No.185 of 196, for Auld Alliance Singapore

Original cost of this bottle; €€€€€

Dram-atics "Classic" review


Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Glowing cork

Nose: Ooooh very different, give me a minute or two here ... this is a 35 year old fruit bomb, quite amazing. There's an explosion of pineapple with accompanying pink grapefruit and it's amazingly light and delicate for its age. I even detect a little hint of citrus now, something quite like lime, maybe even lime tree blossom? All this fruitiness reminds me just a little of some very fruity cough medicine from my childhood, but I assure you that isn't a bad thing!

Palate: Fruit again, lots of it, now in the form of a massive fruit cocktail comprising pineapple, banana, raspberry, peach and all topped with creamy vanilla custard. The mouth-feel is also very creamy but with a slight oiliness and a little underlying woodiness.

Finish: Long, light, fruity.

Overall Impression: Yes it's a very different whisky, quite amazingly different with all that fruitiness, but it's truly excellent too. I just fell in love with a whisky!




BenRiach, 27y, 1984 - July 2012, 52.2% ABV

Cask 4050, Hogshead, Tawny Port finish, bottle No.29 of 283

Original cost of this bottle; €€€€€

Reviewed (blind) as part of MMA 2012


Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Dark, very dark.

Nose: I was initially surprised by something a little stale and almost tinny here. Behind this comes a lovely dark fruitiness, then lightly toasted currants and what I can only describe as gentle rubbery ice cream.

Palate: Wow, nothing stale or tinny here. Very tingly (on the tongue) with hints of aniseed. Correct that, lots of aniseed. Then really quite fresh leading into the finish.

Finish: Long with more of that aniseed.

Overall Impression: After suspecting something slightly unpleasant from the initially tinny nose I was delighted to find a dram that's very fresh and alive. I'm not personally the biggest aniseed fan, but make no mistake this is a very good whisky.




BenRiach, 35y, 42.5% ABV

Original cost of this bottle; €€€€€

Sample thanks to MMA 2015


Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Rich dark polished oak

Nose: Lots of suggestions of nuts, fruit (mainly dark like plums, raisins) and woodiness. There's even a hint of creme brulée and perhaps a hint of treacle sponge pudding too?

Palate: All the nuttiness and fruitiness of the nose extends to the palate reminding me of a (mild) English Christmas cake.

Finish: Extremely long and rich yet gentle and not too overpowering. Right at the end there's the faintest suggestion of coconut.

Overall Impression: Delightful and quite possibly a 'Great' too.





BenRiach, Curiositas, 10y, (peated), 46% ABV

Original cost of this bottle; €€€€€


Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Pale yellow, light gold

Nose: Fresh peat with just a hint of new rubber wellington boot and redcurrant jelly.

Palate: Initially smooth and creamy with a hint of fruit, but then the peat arrives on the palate and warms gently across the tongue, bringing that slight of rubber with some faint wood, but fading back to a peaty delight.

Finish: Long, gentle peat.

Overall Impression: This is peat in another dimension to the Islay offerings. Lighter, but still intense. I like it!



BenRiach, Horizons, 12y, 50% ABV

Triple distilled, limited release, sherry wood

Original cost of this bottle; €€€€€

Reviewed as part of MMA 2011


Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Rich gold

Nose: Slightly dry scorched wood, a light fruitiness and after some minutes a hint of cloves. The suggestion of cloves expands with more time in the glass.

Palate: Very creamy mouth-feel with an accompanying burst of flavou comprising mainly peppery cloves and cardamom seeds.

Finish: Long and rich with a gentle peppery tingle.

Overall Impression: A very good whisky, I really enjoyed this one.




BenRiach, Septendecim, 17y, (peated), 46% ABV

Original cost of this bottle; €€€€€

(My thanks to BenRiach for the official sample)


Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Pale yellow gold / straw

Nose: Rubbery, very Pirelle P-Zero or even bright yellow marigold washing-up gloves. Eventually, behind the rubberiness comes a vanilla fruitiness, in fact the rubberiness now fades a little to leave the vanilla more room to expand, but it never quite totally disappears. After more time there's finally a kind of light earthy peatiness.

Palate: Much more peaty than the rubbery nose thankfully. In fact there's no rubberiness here, just fruity peat, a hint of coconut and a slightly watery mouth-feel.

Finish: Medium to long with fruity peat.

Overall Impression: A really enjoyable palate with a nose for the rubber fettishist, sadly I'm not one.



BenRiach, Authenticus, 21y, (peated), 46% ABV

Original cost of this bottle; €€€€€ (just)

"Dram-atics" H2H Authenticus - Supernova 2010


Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Dark yellow, rich gold.

Nose: A very unusual nose here, initially with a cocktail of peat and lemon (citrus). As time passes a little vanilla comes into the mixture too, but the peat is always present in the background.

Palate: Very smooth, fruity peat. The fruit isn't quite so citrus on the palate, but it is still clean and fresh as I get hints of papaya with slight lime.

Finish: Very long, fruity peat with delicious fruit left right at the end.

Overall Impression: Incredible flavours, I love this whisky.




BenRiach, Birnie Moss, 21y, (peated), 48% ABV

Original cost of this bottle; €€€€€


Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Extremely pale, lightly discoloured water.

Nose: Light peatiness with vegetal undertones. There's also an Atlantic freshness with a very light and indistinct fruitiness.

Palate: Creamy mouth-feel but quite watery with peat and then a light fruitiness leading into the finish.

Finish: Long

Overall Impression: Innocuous and innocent, but also indistinct and quite indifferent.






BenRiach, 13y, 46% ABV

Heavily peated madeira cask

Original cost of this bottle; Unknown


Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Golden sunshine

Nose: Rich earthy peat and lots of it with a little extra fruity character in the background.

Palate: The palate doesn't have such heavy peat as the nose. It's more creamy and gentle but yes, still there. It also has a suggestion of what I can only describe as apple crumble with custard.

Finish: Long with a gentle peatiness.

Overall Impression: A really good creamy and peaty character here. I love it.




BenRiach, 17y, 46% ABV

Rioja cask

Original cost of this bottle; Unknown


Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Rich amber

Nose: Lots of fruitiness with dark summer berries then almonds, fruity red wine and just a hint of damp sawdust alongside creamy vanilla.

Palate: The fruity red wine and vanilla are really concentrated on the palate.

Finish: Long with fruity red wine flavours.

Overall Impression: This is quite enjoyable, but what a massive influence the rioja has here.





Independent bottlings


Blackadder, BenRiach, 19y, 13.3.1991 - Feb 2011, 57.9% ABV

Hogshead cask 32284, bottle No.28 of 238

Original cost of this bottle; €€€€€

Reviewed as part of MMA 2011


Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Light oak

Nose: Initial suggestion of freshly sawn aromatic oak followed by hints of unbaked, freshly rising home-made bread dough. After some 5 minutes in the glass the nose expands to include lightly herbal grasses and lemon tree blossom.

Palate: Lots of initial punch with lime, biscuit and (almost, but not quite) liquorice. Then some delightful lightly perfumed butterscotch.

Finish: Long with a suggestion of floral buttersctoch.

Overall Impression: I'm impressed. What a wonderful whisky, truly excellent.


, BenRiach, 16y, 1991 - 2012, 55.2% ABV

Cask 5614, one of 296 bottles

Original cost of this bottle; €€€€€


Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Amber

Nose: Vanilla ice cream amidst raisins, currants, chocolate and just a smidgen of furniture polish. With time in the glass a frity oakiness develops which makes this a quite rich, but yet refreshing whisky.

Palate: A really quite different mouth experience as initially the middle of the palate is overlooked as a slightly dry creaminess heads stright for the sides of the palate. After 2-3 seconds the middle of the palate enjoys an expansion of slightly dry and grainy creaminess. This expands to offer dark cherries, wild honey and a mixture of dark fruitiness spreading across the whole palate. I guess I should add a few drops of water, but no, it's just fine as it is.

Finish: Long and creamy

Overall Impression: A very gentle giant. Most enjoyable. In fact very good indeed.






Cadenhead's, BenRiach-Glenlivet, 10y, 56.5% ABV

Original cost of this bottle; Unknown


Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Very pale yellow (gold)

Nose: Warming and faintly musty with a gentle leafiness alongside suggestions of vanilla and apple. In fact red apple and perhaps even as an apple crumble with custard and raisins.

Palate: Again warming but also mildly peppery offering a tingle on the palate. The leafiness and apple crumble-y-ness also translate from the nose onto the palate.

Finish: Very long and tingly with that peppery apple-y-ness.

Overall Impression: Fruity and tingly and a good old honest bourbon cask whisky. Lovely.






BenRiach, 1986, 23y, 'Plowed' 56.1% ABV

Original cost of this bottle; Unknown


Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Deep rich amber

Nose: Luxuriously rich with dark fruitiness reminiscent of plums and damsons, also suggestions of ginger cake and toasted almonds, perhaps even roasted chestnuts.

Palate: The suggestions of the nose translate perfectly onto the palate with that rich fruitiness, nuttiness and ginger cake.

Finish: Very long with that rich fruitiness and ginger cake.

Overall Impression: I love it.










© Copyright 2009-2020 by Keith Wood - All rights reserved - Whisky-Emporium / Whisky-Emporium is not responsible for external website content