Benromach Distillery has perhaps been closed longer than it has been functional. It has changed ownership so many times that it is difficult to keep track. Fortunately the whisky that was distilled and left to mature as far back as fifty years ago is part of the treasure trove that is being released today. Located at Moray, Speyside, the acknowledged home of the finest Scotch, Benromach Distillery is a perfect blend of tradition and modernity.
The Benromach Distillery was originally started in 1898 by Duncan MacCallum of Glen Nevis Distillery, Campbeltown, and FW Brickmann a spirit broker from Leith. Unfortunately this was an inopportune time to start as whisky sales were in a slump. As a result the distillery was inactive till the middle of May 1900 when it started conducting trials.
The distillery was bought by Harvey McNair & Co of London in 1911, which could only carry out distilling till the beginning of the First World War in 1914. After WWI Benromach changed many hands including the American company, National Distillers. In 1953 they transferred Benromach to DCL.
The distillery was renovated between 1966 and 1974 but unfortunately United Distillers bottled here for the last time in 1984. Benromach was officially closed for nearly ten years when the site was bought by Gordon and MacPhail in 1993. After extensive renovation and modernization, production at the Benromach Distillery restarted in 1998 under their banner. It was exactly a hundred years since the distillery was founded.
The distillery uses soft and pure Speyside water from Chapelton Springs located in the heart of the Romach hills behind Forres. Though there are no malting floors at Benromach, they obtain the finest malted barley from major maltsters. The peating is to their specifications and is comparable with traditional floor malted barley.
The four wooden larch washbacks were resized with wood from the distillery’s original washbacks. The new wash and spirit stills have been specifically designed by Gordon and MacPhail to produce a full, rich spirit. Benromach is hand made by two men using traditional working methods and processes. The casks for maturing Benromach are carefully hand selected.
Benromach Traditional hit the market in 2003, their first whisky released since 1983. A careful mixture of first fill oak bourbon barrels give it a sweet spicy flavor and first fill sherry butts provide a smooth richness to the whisky. The new production is filled into new sherry butts and hogsheads, bought and seasoned in Spain and will eventually be bottled as single malts. Bourbon barrels and refill sherry casks are used for whisky to be used at a younger age for a G&M blend like Glen Calder. The older whiskies released by Benromach are benefits reaped from the casks maturing from earlier times.