All about Benrinnes

Pinning down the character of Benrinnes is hard because it is one of the "perfect Whiskies for blending" -- which is where the vast majority of production goes -- and they changed their distillation technique in 2007 when they ceased triple distillation.

There have been no single malt releases of Benrinnes since then that we are aware of. But the 15 YO Flora and Fauna release was roundly praised with a flavor of butterscotch, and creamy biscuits with a pleasant sweetness and a hint of earthy peat in the background.

All about Benrinnes distillery

Benrinnes sits just off the Spey River, about 11 miles south of the sea in the hill-town of Aberlour, with easy access to Route A95 as it climbs up toward Knockando.

The "original" distillery on the current Benrinnes site was built in 1826 by Peter McKenzie, but that entire operation was washed away by a flood just three years later. John Innes rebuilt from scratch, in the side buildings of a farmhouse on the property in 1835, and called it "Lyne of Ruthrie." But luck or timing failed Mr. Innes and he slipped into bankruptcy.

William Smith purchased the asset, changed the name to Benrinnes, and then "flipped" the property by selling it to David Alexander. It has been in nearly continuous operation since then, with one brief interruption due to a fire in 1896. The facility was rebuilt, modernized, and returned to full production.

Benrinnes has always been about selling wholesale -- almost all production has been contributed to blends. If you see a bottle labeled "Benrinnes single malt" it is most likely a single cask issue, or release by an independent bottler.

One of the more unique qualities often attributed to Benrinnes, is their use of triple distillation -- something rare in the Highlands, but a matter of policy in Irish and Lowland Scotch Whisky. But that practice is old news, having been discontinued at Benrinnes in 2007.

One thing that they have continued from the old days, is their use worm-tubes to cool the still necks -- that's not very common anymore. The rest of their technique generally follows the traditional Speyside forms and practices.

Distillery info

  • Country: United Kingdom
  • Region: Speyside
  • Address: Benrinnes Distillery, Charlestown of Aberlour, AB38 9NN, United Kingdom