This July we’ll be welcoming a shipment of new BenRiach age-statement single malts into Australia by sharing a range of them in The Oak Barrel’s tasting room.
The whiskies will age from 12-years-old to a staggering 35-years-old, the six drams averaging a minimum age of 24-years-old. The line-up includes the veritable 12-Year-Old Sherry Wood, a top seller for us since its launch this year, peated 30 and 21-Year-Olds and the flagship 21, 25 and 35-Year-Olds, for which Australia receives limited allocations.
It is our latest tasting showcase from this versatile Speyside distillery, whose renaissance as a single malt force has mirrored the growing global whisky market. A distillery that is both traditional in nature but modern in progressiveness, it always manages to surprise and impress.
Of particular note in this tasting is the BenRiach 35-Year-Old, which is swimming in awards at the moment. It was named the Best Scotch Speyside Single Malt at the 2019 World Whiskies Awards, with judges saying, “Really inviting, from pour to first sniff. Fruity, with mango, pineapple and green apple all mingling nicely over freshly waxed floorboards. The palate is soft. Everything is in harmony.”
Rare in Australia, it expected retail for the 35 in this coming shipment will be around the $1,500 mark.
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, however, 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. BenRiach continues to be a source of experimentation across age statements and wood policies.
What We’ll be Trying:
BenRiach 30-Year-Old Authenticus Peated
BenRiach 21-Year-Old Temporis Peated
BenRiach 12-Year-Old Sherry Wood
WHAT: BenRiach New Age Statements Tasting
WHERE: The Oak Barrel, 152 Elizabeth St, Sydney
WHEN: Wednesday 24 July 2019, doors open 6.15pm for a 6.30pm start
PRICE: $65 for members, $75 for guests
Strictly one night only, over 18s only.
How To Buy Tickets
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