We’re excited to confirm that one of our final whisky tastings of the year will be a very special one – a vertical tasting of BenRiach single casks.
A tasting of rare BenRiachs like this will be a first for The Oak Barrel, featuring casks from the Batch 15 outturn. The series has a bit of everything – young whisky, old whisky, sherry casks, port casks, rare wine casks, peated expressions, unpeated expressions… all from the one marvellous distillery.
BenRiach almost didn’t get off the starting blocks. Built in 1897 by John Duff & Co., it started production in 1898 – just as the Scottish whisky industry was collapsing. One of the last to be built in that century, it was also one of the first sacrificed and BenRiach – originally designed as Longmorn’s sister plant – was shut in 1900, just three years after it began.
The distillery then spent 65 years in slumber until The Glenlivet Distillers Ltd fired the site up in 1965. Very much a blenders malt, BenRiach led an indistinct and low-profile life, very much in the shadow of its neighbours Longmorn and Glen Grant. Closed once again in 2002, it was easy to suspect that BenRiach would finish its days as a sidenote in the story of Scotch whisky. Reality would tell a different story and the distillery was about to be reborn and enter a golden age under the new-found demand for single malts.
In 2003 it was bought by a consortium led by Billy Walker – the former Direct of Burn Stewart – and production recommenced. With the focus now on single malts, existing stocks were released in a whole new range of expressions and the distillery name was finally being mentioned by more than just blenders.
Billy Walker went on to acquire the GlenDronach and Glenglassaugh distilleries, which have themselves both been reinvented using a similar template of passion and progressiveness that first worked at BenRiach.
The successes didn’t go unnoticed and in 2016 American whiskey and spirits company Brown-Forman bought the BenRiach group, which includes all three distilleries. With their investment and global network, the distillery’s profile will only continue to grow.
A site of experimentation across age statements and wood policies, the successes of their alchemy is perhaps best represented in their single cask releases, which we’re just starting to see substantial stocks of in Australia.
What We’ll Be Trying:
BenRiach Single Cask 10-Year-Old Moscatel Hogshead 58.9%
BenRiach Single Cask 11-Year-Old Port Pipe 58.7%
BenRiach Single Cask 11-Year-Old Sauternes Barrique 56.5%
BenRiach Single Cask 12-Year-Old Oloroso Sherry Butt 58.1%
BenRiach Single Cask 12-Year-Old Peated Port Pipe 53.9%
BenRiach Single Cask 20-Year-Old Marsala Hogshead 54.8%
BenRiach Single Cask 22-Year-Old Peated Oloroso Sherry Butt 51.1%
WHAT: BenRiach Single Cask Vertical Tasting
WHERE: The Oak Barrel, 152 Elizabeth St, Sydney
WHEN: Wednesday 28 November, doors open 6.15pm for a 6.30pm start
PRICE: SOLD OUT!