First Slide Ben

What Sets Us Apart

Our Process

Every stage of our whisky making process is uniquely designed to deliver a richly multi-layered and characterful single malt that sets us apart. Our unique four water mash, and slow and deliberate distilling style, prepares a high quality spirit that is ready to take on the diverse flavours from our eclectic cask selection. Sourced from around the world and brought back to Speyside, our casks enable Master Blender Rachel Barrie to create and craft flavour possibilities like no other. Discover how we make Benriach; a rare gem of a Speyside Single Malt.

01 / It all starts with the water

Signature Sweet Mash

Ruggedly beautiful, Benriach Distillery stands on the site of the old Riach farm in north Speyside, drawing its water source from the mineral-rich, underground aquifer that lies deep beneath the distillery grounds.

During mashing - the process that turns the barley’s starch into fermentable sugar - we use four batches of our mineral rich water, instead of the usual three. This takes longer but allows us to achieve maximum sweetness from the barley. We call it a ‘four water mash’.

Fermentation is the next stage of the production process. We add yeast to the four-water mash to create the wash, a beer-like product ready for distillation. The high level of sweetness from the barley, alongside the mineral rich purity of the water, enables us to create a fruit-forward wash. This helps us unlock the abundance of orchard fruit notes that is our signature.

02 / A Bespoke Distillation

Three Styles of Whisky

At Benriach Distillery, we have an unconventional whisky making heritage producing three styles of whisky: classic unpeated, Highland peated and triple distilled.

  • Triple Distilled

    In the 1990s, Benriach began experimenting with small batches of triple distilled spirit. Once a year we continue this tradition. The third distillation further enhances Benriach’s fruit-laden character, creating an ultra-smooth spirit for this small batch style.
  • Classic Speyside

    At Benriach, our bespoke distillation process creates our signature fruit-laden spirit. We run the stills nice and slow to create a longer ‘heart’ of the run. This captures the maximum levels of esters in the spirit, which develop as fruit notes in flavour. It is this fruit-forward distillation that works to capture layers of abundant orchard fruits and citrus zest in the heart of Benriach’s spirit.
  • Smoky Speyside

    Once a year, we distill Benriach peated spirit, a rarity for the Speyside tradition. We call this ‘Smoke Season’; a period when the rich aromas of peat smoke curl their way through the distillery. Our historical research indicates Benriach Distillery holds the oldest and rarest peated inventory in Speyside, dating back to 1975. Our peat comes from the Highlands of Scotland and imparts a sweet, smoky woodland peat profile to our whisky. This flavour is quite different to the more medicinal West Coast peat, most well known for its use on Islay.
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03 / A World of Flavour

Eclectic Cask Maturation

Benriach possesses a selection of exceptional Speyside single malts, dating back to 1966. Within our warehouses lie one of the most eclectic cask selections to be found anywhere in Scotland. Our ‘sleeping beauties’ - as we often call them - are continually sourced from all over the world, enabling us to creatively explore the full flavour possibilities of Speyside Single Malt.

This exceptional inventory allows us to revel in our craft, creating expressions with a rich and diverse marriage of different cask types. We use three casks in our 10 and 12 year old expressions, and four casks in our old and rare whiskies.

Warehouse 13 is the oldest original dunnage warehouse from 1898, when the distillery was built. It is a constant at the heart of our creative maturation heritage and guards some of the rarest treasures in our eclectic range of cask types. Here we keep all three styles: unpeated, peated and triple distilled.

This selection of cask types encompasses the different types in our core range expressions. Many more can be found maturing in the warehouses of our distillery."

USA

Virgin Oak

USA

Bourbon

Jamaica

Rum

Portugal

Madeira

Spain

Sherry

Portugal

Port

France

Red Wine

Italy

Marsala

Bourbon One

Orchard fruits, Vanilla, sweetness, caramel, creamy

Bourbon

Orchard fruits, Vanilla, sweetness, caramel, creamy

Bourbon

Orchard fruits, Vanilla, sweetness, caramel, creamy

Bourbon

Orchard fruits, Vanilla, sweetness, caramel, creamy

Bourbon

Orchard fruits, Vanilla, sweetness, caramel, creamy

Bourbon

Orchard fruits, Vanilla, sweetness, caramel, creamy

Bourbon

Orchard fruits, Vanilla, sweetness, caramel, creamy

Bourbon

Orchard fruits, Vanilla, sweetness, caramel, creamy

Hover over the wheel to unlock the treasures hidden within our eclectic casks from around the world.

Virgin Oak USA

By working closely with our partner cooperages in Alabama and Kentucky, we are fortunate to have access to a wide range of American oak casks before they are used for bourbon maturation. When maturing Benriach spirit, virgin oak casks offer added layers of toasted oak spice and nutty caramel.

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Bourbon USA

We source our American bourbon casks from our sister distilleries in Tennessee and Kentucky. Bourbon maturation is the foundation behind the signature flavours of Benriach single malt. Depending on age and spirit type, bourbon casks enrich our single malts with layers of vanilla sweetness, orchard fruit and almond.

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Red Wine FRANCE & SPAIN

We have a large variety of red wine casks available at Benriach and we continue to rely on the artistry and expertise of Master Blender Dr. Rachel Barrie to assess the nuances of each cask and how it will play a part in creating our multilayered single malts. Whether it’s a Bordeaux, Burgundy or Rioja cask type, red wine casks bring out notes of berry fruit in Benriach spirit, with softer notes of milk chocolate and spice.

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Marsala ITALY

Marsala is a fortified wine produced in Sicily, Italy and we source our casks directly from the region. In flavour, our Marsala casks impart layers of creamy sweetness to Benriach single malt, developing notes of sweet orange, apricot cream and candied grape.

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Port PORTUGAL

Sourced from the Douro Valley in Portugal, our port casks bring richness and depth to our single malts. Flavours of dark chocolate, orange peel and black cherry are signatures of Benriach port cask maturation, elevating to velvety chocolate walnut and dark fruit in our oldest and most luxurious expression, The Thirty.

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Madeira PORTUGAL

The Portuguese Madeira islands are renowned for their unique fortified wine, enhanced in flavour by heating repeatedly. With dry and sweeter styles of Madeira available, different notes will come to the forefront during maturation. Generally however these casks bring out layers of burnt orange and baking spices.

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Rum JAMAICA

A cask type we have brought into Benriach’s core range in recent years, specifically with our Smoky Ten expression. Sourced from Jamaica, the combination of our rum casks with Benriach spirit brings out flavours of sunripe fruit, coconut cream and banana.

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Sherry SPAIN

One of our most traditional cask types and renowned in the industry for adding rich natural colour and depth to malt whisky. We work closely with bodegas in Jerez, Spain to find sherry casks which bring out notes of baked and caramelised fruit, chocolate praline and spiced mocha.

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04 / Steeped in Tradition

Historic Floor Maltings

Benriach is one of just two remaining distilleries in Speyside to distill whisky using malted barley from its own floor maltings, celebrating a tradition which started when the distillery was first founded by John Duff in 1898.

For most of the year, we source Scottish barley malted in Speyside to make Benriach whisky, however for one month each year, local Scottish barley arrives at the distillery and we celebrate the time-honoured tradition of malting the barley by hand on our historic malting floor. We call it ‘Malting Season’.

05 / Expertly Crafted

MASTER BLENDER RACHEL BARRIE

Rachel Barrie is a member of Whisky Magazine’s Hall of Fame and one of the most renowned and gifted Master Blenders in the industry. She brings over quarter of a century of Scotch whisky making experience to Benriach Distillery. With three Speyside styles of whisky and an eclectic collection of casks to work with, Rachel has an exceptional palette of flavours to explore and bring to life at Benriach. It is her artistry and expertise we rely on to craft Benriach’s richly multi-layered single malts.


Want to Learn More? Book a Tour

Come to Speyside and explore the rugged beauty of our home, learning how we craft our whisky from barley to bottle. Finish with a whisky tasting and discover how our ingenious team collide, combine and intertwine multi-layered flavour combinations that you'll remember long after you leave us.

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