The Scotch Malt Whisky Society “Exotic Cargo Batch Two” – Scotch Whisky News



Prepare your senses for sherry-soaked bliss, batch two of Exotic Cargo has landed on Leith shores. With overwhelming approval from members on our first bottling, we’re continuing our journey into flavour by releasing another batch of our blended malt. This second bottling is also from a selection of ex-sherry casks containing whisky distilled in 2006 and matured from day one in first-fill Spanish oak hogsheads. We selected these casks due to the intensity of their sherry influence, giving this new 11-year-old blended malt bottling an added richness and a longer finish.

With a Deep, Rich Dried Fruits flavour profile, members can expect an enticing mix of intense sweetness and exotic fruity splashes. Bottles are likely to sell fast, please order now before this new batch sets sail.

In order to share this bottling with as many members as possible, purchases are limited to 2 bottles per member.  Additional or duplicate orders exceeding this limit will be cancelled and refunded.


“A sumptuous nose! A banana sprinkled with brown sugar and gleefully blowtorched followed by suggestions of trail mix, malt loaf and touches of mint tea. Water brings earth after rainfall, bracken and still-warm coal hearths. The palate is dense and chocolatey with notes of various cured meats, wet earth, sorrel, dried herbs, turmeric and pears baked in cognac. There is a beautiful and curiously old-school aspect to the sherry. ”

Age: 11 years
Casks: First-fill Spanish oak hogsheads
Price: £47


The Scotch Malt Whisky Society, The Vaults, 87 Giles Street, Leith EH6 6BZ

Contact: or call 0131 555 2929 (Mon-Fri 9am-4.45pm). Visit the Society at here for membership information

This is your chance to join and to take advantage of their great offers!

Spot the SMWS bottles in this amusing You Tube video


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BenRiach 21 Year Old

BenRiach has a new expression in their ‘classic’ (unpeated) range, BenRiach 21 Year Old. I suppose this means the excellent BenRiach 20 Years will be phased out. Mind that there is also a peated 21 year-old Authenticus.

The recipe is quite unconventional, with four oak types involved: ex-bourbon, Pedro Ximénez sherry, red wine (Limousin oak) and virgin oak casks. It is one of the first creations of the new Master Blender Rachel Barrie.



BenRiach 21 Year OldBenRiach 21 Year OldBenRiach 21 yo (46%, OB 2017)

Nose: a bright fruity nose, with the ex-bourbon oak in front with some oak spices from the virgin wood. Peaches, Granny Smith apples, lemon peels with pepper and ginger. Light marshmallow and vanilla. A hint of strawberry candy after a while. I can get something from all oak types except for the PX maybe. Mouth: same intense fruitiness (peaches, berries, citrus) a bit like a fruit compote. Then some milk chocolate and sultanas (sherry after all) and balanced spices. Cinnamon pastry, a little ginger. Sweet biscuits. Finish: quite long, with a sweet maltiness, light earthy touches and oak spices.

It’s quite a complex dram and the composition is very well done, you really get something from all oak types without breaking the balance. Personally I’m not a fan of using so many casks but here it works out well. Coming soon, already available from Master of Malt.

Score: 87/100

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The Whisky Exchange “Pot Still Whiskey – Ireland’s Secret Weapon” – Irish Whiskey News


Pot Still Whiskey – Ireland’s Secret Weapon

Irish whiskey is booming. For a long time it has been seen as Scotch whisky’s less-popular sibling, but the past few years have seen it explode in popularity. The biggest driver is Jameson, a blended Irish whiskey, but also growing is a style of whiskey not found anywhere else: pot still whiskey.

Pot still: isn’t that what you use to make malt whiskey?

First off, the terminology is confusing. In Ireland, along with blended, grain and malt whiskey, you also have pot still whiskey. Distillers make malt whiskey in a pot still, but it’s not pot still whiskey. Confused yet?

A pot still used to make pot still whiskey. It’s deliberately confusing

The difference between pot still and malt whiskey is the ingredients: pot still uses both malted and unmalted barley.

On top of that, all pot still whiskey you can currently find is single pot still whiskey. The ‘single’ just means that it’s made at one distillery.


The history

In classic fashion, the development of pot still as a style of whiskey comes from taxation. Back in the 1700s, the government started taxing malt. Enterprising distillers, keen to save money, replaced some of the now-expensive malt with cheaper, unmalted grain. The result was pot still whiskey.

Barley, happily malting away with no interference from the tax man

Historically, distillers also threw in oats, rye and wheat as well as barley. The legal definition of pot still allows up to 5% other grains, but it’s rare to see them used these days.

How is it made?

It’s made in almost exactly the same way as malt whiskey. The main difference is that the grain used is a mixture of malted and unmalted barley.

As usual, the distillers mill the grain and steep it in hot water. They then strain off the sugary liquid, add yeast and leave the mixture to ferment.

The resulting boozy liquid – wash – is then distilled.


Triple distillation

As is traditional in Ireland, all the distilleries currently producing pot still whiskey triple-distil their spirit.

The three stills at Slane distillery – wash, intermediate and spirit

Triple distillation is talked about a lot in whisk(e)y circles, and there are a few myths to be busted:

  • there are several distilleries in Scotland that triple distil – it’s not only an Irish thing
  • triple distillation does not necessarily lead to a high-strength, low-flavour spirit.

The latter point is especially interesting. Each distillation typically increases the purity of the spirit – it removes flavour. However, pot stills are inefficient beasts, and that inefficiency gives the distiller options. They can emphasise and quieten flavours in the final distillate: the third distillation is a polishing of the spirit.

This is especially true of pot still whiskey, where the unmalted barley adds in large amounts of flavour. The spirit needs sculpting to create the fruit, grass, grain and spice character that the distiller and drinker expect.

How does it taste?

Only Irish Distillers’ Midleton distillery has pot still whiskey on the market, but expect to see more appearing soon. Ireland has loads of new distilleries and many of them are planning on making pot still whiskey, if they aren’t already.

For now, the two classics of pot still are Green Spot and Redbreast.

Green Spot focuses on bourbon-cask maturation, giving a very clean insight into pot-still character. Redbreast is all about the sherry casks, adding in layers of spice and dried fruit.


Redbreast 12 Year Old

Nose: Rich spiced fruit, hints of orgeat sweetness, toast with generic red jam and creamy porridge with brown sugar.

Palate: Softer and creamier than the nose suggests. Spiced sponge cake packed with dried fruit and smothered with soft, buttery icing.

Finish: More cream and fruit, fading into dark and spicy wood.

Comment: This is the ‘entry level’ whisky in the Irish Distillers Single Pot Still range? An excellent whiskey.


Green Spot

Nose: Big green apple notes, candle wax, olive oil and some raisiny sweetness with a bit of cereal hiding underneath.

Palate: Soft and creamy apple – baby-food apple purée? Fresh and piney edges with green rhubarb and tropical fruit squash.

Finish: A big hit of both real apple and apple chews, slowly fading to leave sweet grain.

Comment: A very different whiskey to the Redbreasts – very fresh and green, but with a heavy oiliness as well. My favourite of the range.

Redbreast was the whiskey that made me fall in love with Irish spirit, and Green Spot was the one that kept me hooked. With new distilleries now getting into the pot still game, we can expect lots more to try in the future. I look forward to trying them.

You can find a wide range of Irish whiskey, including lots of pot still, over on our website.

Originally published on The Whisky Exchange Blog – Pot Still Whiskey – Ireland’s Secret Weapon

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Becky and Georgie


London, UK, 6th March 2018, Becky Paskin, Editor of and Georgie Bell, Global Whisky Specialist, have partnered to launch #OurWhisky – a new movement designed to challenge perceptions of the stereotypical whisky drinker.

This is the world’s first campaign to unite the global whisky industry and whisky lovers in a combined bid to dispel common myths of who modern whisky drinkers are.

Although the consensus within the industry is that whisky is a drink with widespread appeal, the perception remains among many consumers that whisky is still a “man’s drink” – an opinion perpetuated by decades of male-oriented advertising.

As an on-going global project, #OurWhisky aims to showcase the inclusiveness of whisky and the diversity of its drinkers through a photographical social media series, launching on 6th March in the run-up to International Women’s Day (on 8th March).

For the launch, Georgie and Becky have invited women from across the global whisky industry – ambassadors, distillery managers, blenders, whisky lovers, journalists and bartenders – to participate. By showcasing the diversity that exists within the whisky industry, Becky and Georgie are hoping to inspire whisky lovers all around the world to join the #OurWhisky movement.

The initial drive for the campaign will be to encourage women to tag @OurWhisky in a photo of themselves that illustrates how they like to drink whisky – at a bar, at home with their partners or with friends, and use the hashtag #OurWhisky. Their photos will then be retweeted, regrammed and shared with fellow whisky enthusiasts to build a digital community that reflects the face of the modern whisky drinker.

Becky comments: “We are asking whisky lovers all over the world to take a photo of themselves that illustrates how they like to enjoy whisky, whether in a cocktail, from a hipflask on a wintry walk, as an accompaniment to their favourite meal, wrapped in a blanket on the couch, hanging out with friends or doing something more adventurous!”

“The campaign is called #OurWhisky as our first and foremost priorities are equality, gender parity and inclusiveness. Whisky is a drink that can be enjoyed by everyone, and we feel it’s important to demonstrate that by celebrating the gender and cultural diversity of the modern day whisky drinker.”

Georgie says: “Whisky still widely succumbs to misconceptions amongst consumers. The more people we get involved in spreading the message that whisky does in fact have a broad appeal, the stronger it will become.”

She adds: “This is something we both feel really strongly about, a true passion project – it’s not a branded piece but instead a rally cry to unite whisky lovers and the industry together.”

Following the initial launch, the #OurWhisky campaign will evolve to encompass diversity, highlighting different ethnicities and cultures, to move forward against preconceived notions of what a whisky drinker ‘should’ look like.

The tagged photos will be collated and published on the @ourwhisky Instagram, Twitter and Facebook accounts.


OurWhisky is an on-going global campaign to highlight the diversity of the whisky industry, the inclusiveness of whisky and the variety of its drinkers. The project is designed to challenge opinions of what a whisky drinker looks like through a photographical social media series. Spearheaded by Becky Paskin, Editor of, the leading online whisky magazine, and Georgie Bell, Global Whisky Educator, they hope to inspire people all over the globe by showcasing how diverse the whisky industry really is.

About Becky and Georgie:

 Becky Paskin

Becky Paskin is editor of online magazine, the world’s leading website for whisky lovers. She was the first journalist to gain a General Certificate in Distillation with the Institute of Brewing and Distilling – a qualification usually reserved for distillery operators. Becky has been writing about drinks for over 10 years, is a member of exclusive society Keepers of the Quaich, and is an expert in all manner of spirits. She regularly presents educational whisky seminars at global drinks shows including Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans and The Whisky Show in London.

Georgie Bell
Georgie Bell, Global Whisky Specialist, started her career in the drinks industry as a cocktail bartender. Going on to study for a diploma in distillation at the Institute of Brewing and Distilling she achieved the highest mark globally, leading to The Worshipful Company of Distillers to grant their International Award and accepting her in to the exclusive society. Georgie began educating through her various whisky brand ambassador roles starting at the Scotch Malt Whisky Society, before moving to Diageo and now as a Global Malts Ambassador for Bacardi.

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Like its Irish racehorse namesake, The Tyrconnell emerges victorious with

its most aged Irish whiskey finished in rare Madeira casks

Chicago, IL (March 1, 2018) – The Tyrconnell® is proud to announce the debut of one of the most aged expressions within its cask finish portfolio, The Tyrconnell® 15 Year Old Madeira Cask Finish Single Malt Irish Whiskey. Released to select U.S. markets this month with a suggested retail price of $100 (750ml), only a limited quantity has been produced due to its age and unique finish.

Aged for 15 years in American White Oak ex-bourbon barrels and then finished in Madeira wine casks from Portugal’s Madeira Island, The Tyrconnell 15 Year Old Madeira Cask Finish is a one-of-a-kind Irish whiskey with an unsurpassed richness and complexity. It is the oldest Madeira cask finished Tyrconnell released.

By 2007, The Tyrconnell distilling team was experimenting with different finishing techniques after discovering how amenable their light, soft and fruity whiskey was to a cask finish. One of the first modern Irish whiskeys aged in Madeira casks, The Tyrconnell 10 Year Old Madeira Cask Finish, was released in 2007 alongside The Tyrconnell 10 Year Old Port Cask Finish and The Tyrconnell 10 Year Old Sherry Cask Finish, all permanent expressions in the brand’s portfolio.

“We knew we had discovered something special when we first began experimenting with finishing The Tyrconnell in Madeira casks,” says John Cashman, Global Brand Ambassador. “Because we are in the fortunate position of being one of the oldest Irish whiskey-producing companies, we have the patience to wait 15 long years to present something truly remarkable. The 15 year old Tyrconnell finished in Madeira casks is a beautifully rich and spicy spirit, one that I like to enjoy neat or over a few cubes.”

The Tyrconnell is made of just two ingredients – the finest Irish barley and pure Irish spring water. These two simple materials are transformed by experienced hands into an Irish whiskey like no other. Produced in traditional pot stills, The Tyrconnell is one of a rare few Irish whiskeys that utilizes double distillation, allowing more of the rich and natural flavors of The Tyrconnell to remain. This creates a whiskey that carries a delicate flavor atop a creamier, more viscous presence.

Aging the whiskey for 15 years before incorporating the Madeira cask finishing method into this unique limited edition has resulted in an even more complex expression with an incredible evergreen forest freshness. The best way to enjoy this sipping whiskey is on the rocks or neat to showcase the rich, sweet aromas on the nose, its fresh flavor and spicy finish.

The legend of The Tyrconnell® was born in 1876, when R. M. Delamere entered his beautiful chestnut colt, Tyrconnell, in the 10th running of the prestigious National Produce Stakes Horse Race at The Curragh, considered Ireland’s most important thoroughbred racecourse. A short thoroughbred with the odds stacked against him, fortune found favor that afternoon as Tyrconnell crossed the finish line in first place, besting horses and oddsmakers alike on his march to victory.

The against-all-odds victory captured the imagination of the assembled crowd, which included the Watts, an Irish race horse loving family who had built a thriving whiskey distillery. They chose to commemorate Tyrconnell’s win by creating a limited edition, small batch whiskey that bore the name of their local champion. Although the Watts family intended to make The Tyrconnell just once, it ended up becoming their most popular whiskey, even claimed to have been the best-selling Irish whiskey in America before Prohibition.


PROOF                  46% ABV

AROMA                Wafer biscuit sweet vanilla aromas mingle with banana bread and deep red fruit skin. Very soft and approachable with hazelnut and dark sugar lingering under the surface.

TASTE                    Initially soft but then an explosion of spice. Viscous and oily, coating the mouth with stone fruit, hints of Peach Melba and a fresh herbaceous zest.

FINISH                  Astonishingly long, initially sweet with the stone fruit to the fore followed closely by burnt orange peel, drying with an almost evergreen forest freshness and a finale of spice that lingers for what seems like an eternity.

The Tyrconnell 15 Year Old Madeira Cask Finish Limited Edition joins, for a limited time, the Tyrconnell portfolio which includes: The Tyrconnell, The Tyrconnell 10 Year Old Madeira Cask Finish, The Tyrconnell 10 Year Old Port Cask Finish and The Tyrconnell 10 Sherry Cask Finish. 

About The Tyrconnell® Single Malt Irish Whiskey

The Tyrconnell is produced at the Cooley Distillery, nestled in the foothills of the Cooley Mountains in County Louth. The Cooley Distillery, part of the Kilbeggan Distilling Company, has been the driving force behind the Irish Single Malt evolution. Most Irish malt whiskey has traditionally found its way into blended whiskeys, thus it is rare to find Irish malt whiskey bottled in its single malt form. The award-winning Tyrconnell portfolio includes The Tyrconnell, The Tyrconnell 16 Year Old Limited Edition and a trio of 10 Year Old cask finished expressions: Madeira Cask, Sherry Cask and Port Cask. The Cooley Distillery also produces the award-winning Kilbeggan Blended Irish whiskey, Kilbeggan Single Grain and Connemara Peated Single Malt Irish whiskey. For more information on The Tyrconnell, please visit

About Beam Suntory Inc.

As the world’s third largest premium spirits company, Beam Suntory is Crafting the Spirits Brands that Stir the World.  Consumers from all corners of the globe call for the company’s brands, including the iconic Jim Beam and Maker’s Mark bourbon brands and Suntory whisky Kakubin, as well as world renowned premium brands including Knob Creek bourbon, Yamazaki, Hakushu and Hibiki Japanese whiskies, Teacher’s, Laphroaig and Bowmore Scotch whiskies, Canadian Club whisky, Courvoisier cognac, Hornitos and Sauza tequila, EFFEN and Pinnacle vodka, Sipsmith gin and Midori liqueur.

Beam Suntory was created in 2014 by combining the world leader in bourbon and the pioneer in Japanese whisky to form a new company with a deep heritage, passion for quality, innovative spirit and commitment to Growing for Good.  Headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, Beam Suntory is a subsidiary of Suntory Holdings Limited of Japan.  For more information on Beam Suntory, its brands, and its commitment to social responsibility, please visit and

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Glen Albyn 10 Years (McPherson & Sons)

Glen Albyn distillery (together with Glen Mhor) was part of Mackinlays until 1972 when it was sold to DCL which closed it down in 1983 due to its low value as a blender’s whisky. A couple of official bottlings appeared in the 1970s.

Once a year or so a group of serious malt connoisseurs gets together in Limburg, trying all kinds of interesting (long gone) bottles from their own collections. It is a mind-blowing experience that I was lucky to attend once, and sometimes I also get a few outstanding leftover samples in the post. Many thanks, Carsten.



Glen Albyn 10 Years (John McPherson)Glen Albyn 10 Years (John McPherson)Glen Albyn 10 yo (40%, John E. McPherson Sons pre-1974, white label)

Nose: hints of metal polish and dusty books at first, OBE effect. Then a gentle old-school notes, with malty notes and a vague sweetness, but also nicer things like pineapples / papayas, waxy touches and fresh eucalyptus / grasses. Mouth: sweet pineapples and green mango again, with hints of biscuit dough and aniseed. Light pepper and mint.Maybe lacking a bit of brightness here. Hints of cardboard (not necessarily a negative element in this case) and latte. Finish: sweet and malty, not too long, with light spicy notes.

Quite a subtle style, although the creamy fruitiness makes it a nice dram. Very educational.

Score: 86/100

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Johnnie Walker Blue Label – Brora & Rare

Johnnie Walker has a limited edition Johnnie Walker Blue Label called Ghost and Rare, which includes whiskies from ‘ghost distilleries’ that are silent and aren’t producing at the moment.

The first expression in this series is called Blue Label Brora and Rare – it features the Brora distillery as well as Pittyvaich and Cambus, plus malt and grain whisky from five operational distilleries: Clynelish, Royal Lochnagar, Glenkinchie, Glenlossie, and Cameronbridge.


Johnnie Walker Blue Label - Brora  Rare

Johnnie Walker Blue Label - Brora  Rare


While I’m always interested when I see the name Brora, in general I don’t think whisky from lost distilleries should ever be blended away. I’m sure the remaining casks are not all excellent but the chances to try these distilleries are just too precious. In the case of Brora, even the worst expression I’ve tried was well worth bottling as a single malt.

While the remaining number of casks from these Ghost and Rare distilleries may be low, apparently over 40.000 bottles of this Johnnie Walker Blue Label Brora Rare have been made available.



Johnnie Walker Blue Label 'Ghost  Rare’ – Brora  RareJohnnie Walker Blue Label 'Ghost  Rare’ – Brora  RareJohnnie Walker Blue Label ‘Ghost Rare’ – Brora Rare (46%, OB 2017)

Nose: really nice, with a dusty warehouse as well as some earthy / mineral notes that do hint towards Brora. Lots of hazelnuts. Yellow apples, oranges and peaches. Hints of roasted pineapple. Cedar. Waxy notes. A light honeyed sweetness in the background. A grainy edge and a kind of exotic fragrant touch as well. Smooth but rather complex for a blend. Mouth: sweet start, on sugared almonds, apples and honey. Then moving to malty and nutty notes (sugar coated almonds and hazelnuts) and some mineral and earthy notes (mint, heather, a little tobacco). Some chocolate and delicate smoke. Always a waxy side as well. Finish: rather okay, with a light woody note, crème brûlée and roasted nuts.


This is a very good blend, with a complex nose. Overall the added mineral / earthy hints make it more interesting the the regular Johnnie Walker Blue Label. You’re paying quite a heavy price though, for supposedly just a limited amount of Brora in the mix. Still available from Master of Malt for instance.

Score: 87/100

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BenRiach Distillery Profile by Mark Davidson (aka The Jolly Toper) – Scotch Whisky News

BenRiach Distillery

Benriach Distillery

Benriach-Glenlivet is situated a few miles south of Elgin in the Speyside region. It is named after Riach farm, ‘Riach’ meaning either “Hill of the red deer” or more likely “speckled Mountain”, although it was originally called ‘Longmorn No.2”.

Foundation and the Early Days


 The story begins with John Duff (b. Aberchirder, 1842). His family owned land around Miltonduff just west of Elgin. In the 1870s he managed Glendronach distillery but then went on to be the publican at The Fife Arms in Lhanbryde near Elgin. He built Glenlossie distillery in 1876 in partnership with two local businessmen : Alexander Grigor Allan (d. 1895) who was the Procurator Fiscal for Morayshire and Roderick Kemp an Aberdeen wine spirit merchant. On the dissolution of the partnership in 1892 Grigor went on to become sole owner of Talisker and Kemp to own Macallan. From 1887 sales of Glenlossie were exclusively via John Hopkins the London based blender and from 1890 proprietor of Tobermory distillery as well as the Old Mull brand. Hopkins was originally a partner in Glenlossie but left in 1888. Another partner was H. M. S. MacKay who was both Elgin’s burgh surveyor and a land agent. Glenlossie was built under the supervision of Duff to his own plans. It is one of the first examples of the use of concrete in construction in the distilling industry with only the stone built stillhouse not using the then new material. In 1887 Duff was described as “a great moving spirit” by The Aberdeen Journal. Certainly he seems to have successfully climbed ladders but his next ‘move’ may not have been his best. In 1888 Duff emigrated to South Africa with his wife and 3 daughters. He tried to distil in Gauteng Province in the Transvaal, an area where gold had recently been discovered. He failed to find success perhaps mainly due to opposition to British influences and investment from President Kruger which led to the blocking of Duff’s plans. Duff then attempted a similar scheme in the USA. This plan likewise didn’t bear fruit, apparently a combination of the competition from illicit distilling and again anti-British sentiment. Returning to Scotland in 1892 he found work as the distillery manager at Aberdeen’s Bon Accord distillery having his registered address in the city at 5 Union Terrace. He also became a partner in an Aberdeen wine and spirit merchant. He was 52 when he went into partnership with George Thomson Charles Shirres in 1894 under the trading name of John Duff Co.. They built Longmorn distillery, spending £20k (equivalent to £2M today). In 4 years Duff had bought out the other two and built Benriach with the profits from Longmorn at a cost of £16,000. This time he entrusted the distillery design with Elgin architect Charles Doig. Building of Benriach on an adjacent site to Longmorn commenced in 1897 with production starting in 1898. At this point the company was changed from Longmorn-Glenlivet Distillery Company by being incorporated into Longmorn-Glenlivet Distilleries Company Limited while Hill Thomson Co.Ltd and Longmorn distillery manager James Grant and his son ran the distillery when Duff, the sole share owner, ran into financial difficulties and the distillery was repossessed by the bank. This was a disastrous period for many businesses in the whisky industry as boom turned to bust. To illustrate the intensity of the optimism around this time: an amazing total of 33 distilleries were built in the 1890s with 21 of these being in Speyside. However production stopped in 1900 due to the collapse of the market. In this year Duff was officially declared bankrupt although he had been insolvent before this. By 1901 the Board of Directors included J.A. Dewar of John Dewar Sons, Arthur Sanderson of VAT 69 and James Anderson of J.G. Thomson, Leith. Despite the influence of such names the distillery had to shut come 1903.

The Distillery

The Distillery


Recent History


 When the dark days of the first half of the 20th century turned to the post WWII recovery rising demand prompted building and expansion of distilleries. After sitting dormant for over 60 years Benriach was rebuilt and reopened in 1965. The current stillroom was originally a warehouse, the mash house is original while the tun room dates from the refit. Up until 1980 a private rail link was used to move goods between Benriach and its sister Longmorn. The shunting engine, called a ‘puggie’, is now preserved at Aviemore. Since closing in 1900 and the subsequent mothballing in 1903 the floor maltings were however retained and used to contribute to Longmorn’s malt needs. This remained the case even after Benriach reopened. Only after the rail link closed did Benriach use its own malt. The output of the malting floors contributing 7/8% of grain requirements at the time. In 1970 an amalgamation between The Glenlivet and Glen-Grant Distilleries Ltd. and Hill, Thomson Co. Ltd. formed The Glenlivet Distilleries Ltd. Shortly after this in 1972 batches of malt using significant peat levels started. This would have been due to the high demand put on Islay malts by blenders. On the subject of peating: previous to this increase in peat levels it was reported that in 1967 Longmorn stopped using Mannochhill peat and started using New Pitsligo while circa 1987 Benriach had peat cutting rights at Faemussach Moor near Tomintoul. Similar experiments with peated malt took place at Caperdonich and Glen Keith, the latter going under the name Glen Isla. Other trials included the use of virgin oak.


 In November 1977 Glenlivet Distilleries were taken over by the Seagram Company Ltd. of Canada and was operated under the control of Seagram’s Scottish subsidiary Chivas Brothers. Seagram liked a light spirit for their house style of blends for example Benriach was a major component of their Queen Anne brand (which was named after the last serving Stewart monarch) as well as 100 Pipers, Chivas Regal itself, St. Leger and Something Special. The latter brand dated from 1912 when it was created by Hill Thomson and is to this day big in South America. Steps to boost output at the distillery came when the number of stills were increased from 2 to 4 in 1985. From 1965 there was one large wash still and two small spirit stills. This was later adjusted when a second wash still with a 15KL charge was added and the two small spirit stills were replaced with a single larger one. Due to the ensuing imbalance the new large spirit still was retired and the original stills returned. Also at this time a 7 day working week was introduced. Perhaps these are surprising moves as at this time many distilleries were being mothballed or had production levels reduced. At this point capacity would have been about 1.8ML. From this date the distillery had a dedicated manager, since 1965 this role had also included the management of Longmorn. From 1978 Stuart Gillies was the manager having spent the previous 20 years at Glen Grant. Come 1994 the first bottling of a single malt from the distillery was featured in the Heritage Collection alongside Strathisla, Glenkeith and Longmorn- all Speysiders and not dramatically dissimilar in character so the offering was no where near as diverse as the Classic Malts. By 1998 the maltings were decommissioned. Then on 19.12.2001 Seagrams was bought by Pernod Ricard creating the 3rd largest spirits company. Subsequently due to the overall increase in company capacity four distilleries: Benriach, Allt A’Bhainne, Braeval and Caperdonich were each only operated for 3 months of the year. The following year all four distilleries were mothballed. 


 Unusually for the region triple distillation was experimented with in 1998 and was later reinstated by subsequent owners under the guidance of Billy Walker. Currently some three times distilled spirit has been produced every second year. From the original experiment the necessary 5th still is apparently now an ‘ornament’ in Ontario(!). 

The BenRiach Train

The BenRiach Train


A New Chapter


 On 26th April 2004 Billy Walker, Wayne Kieswetter and Geoff Bell operating under the name Intra Trading buy the distillery from Pernod – reportedly paying £5.4M. 40,000 casks are acquired the earliest from 1966 with only a few vintages missing. Billy Walker, an organic chemist, joined Ballantines in 1971 later moving to Inverhouse as a blender. After a subsequent move to Burn Stewart to become their master blender and then production manager he was part of the management buy out that took over the company in 1988. Under the new owners 96 first fill Bourbon barrels are warehoused on 20.9.2004 marking the first filling of new spirit production having recommenced shortly after acquisition. 7.8.2004 saw the first new releases of bottled products. In 2007 the owner’s stewardship is rewarded with the accolade Distillery of the Year from Malt Advocate magazine. A significant development comes in 2008 when the company acquires Glendronach also from Chivas. In 2009 the Whisky Distillery of the Year award comes again but this time from Whisky Magazine. 2011 marks the first year the new owners were able to fill 10,000 casks. Two years later floor malting is restarted although due to cost it is unlikely more than 10% of requirements will be hand malted. In the same year the next acquisition in the form of Glenglassaugh is added to the portfolio. From 2012 it was decided that 200k litres of peated spirit are to be made each January and February. By 2017 this had risen to 0.5ML. Currently the capacity of the distillery stands at 2.8ML. The latest change in ownership came in 2017 when American based Brown Forman took over for a sum of £286M. Most recently, in March 2017, industry personality Rachel Barrie takes over as master blender.


Equipment, Fermentation and Water.


 Cast iron rake and arm mash tun. 8 stainless steel washbacks of 30kl capacity. 48 66 hour ferments. Shell tube condensers. Plain wash still: 15KL charge, plain spirit still: 9.6kl charge. Horizontal lyne arms.The Porteus mill with two de-stoners dates from 1965. 5 dunnage warehouses holding 30K casks. Water comes from 6 wells at Burnside Springs about half a mile from the distillery and is shared with Longmorn. Cooling water is from the same burn that was used by Coleburn, then Glen Elgin, Longmorn and eventually Linkwood.


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Douglas Laing’s Scallywag 13 Year Old Limited Edition at K&L California – Scotch Whisky News


Douglas Laing’s Scallywag 13 Year Old Limited Edition Speyside Blended Malt Scotch Whisky (750ml) (Elsewhere $80)

SKU #1333594 $59.99

The Scallywag blended malt has been well received by Scotch lovers and critics alike for its elegance and nuance. It’s a blended of the great Speyside distilleries, like Macallan, Mortlach, Glenrothes and many more. Typically a small amount of sherried whisky is included in the blend with the majority coming from refill hogsheads and bourbon barrels. The Limited Edition Scallywag, however, has spent 13 long years entirely in Sherry butts from Jerez. It is indeed what some might term as Sherry forward, yet it wouldn’t rank a true bomb thanks to it’s eminently balance. Expect a nose of dense dried fruit, Christmas cake, tobacco spice and an underlying nuttiness. The palate adds some herbal spice, sweet molasses, and texture for days. Absolutely absurd that we can sell this for less than the standard offering. A totally perfect way to spend a cool winter evening.



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Douglas Laing’s Big Peat “Christmas” Limited Edition at K&L California – Scotch Whisky News

Douglas Laing’s Big Peat “Christmas” Limited Edition Cask Strength Islay Blended Malt Scotch Whisky (750ml) (Elsewhere $80)

SKU #1333591 $49.99

The exceptional Big Peat Christmas 2017 arriving perfectly timed to avoid any holiday gifting or sharing with unappreciative relatives. The 2017 Christmas Edition of Big Peat is the probably the best received of these always beloved annual releases. This is a blend of sevenIslay single malts including the rare closed Port Ellen distillery. Douglas Laing has confirmed Bowmore, Caol Ila and Ardbeg, so that leaves Kilchoman, Lagavulin, Laphroaig and Bunnahabhain for us to speculate about. High quality blended malt bottled at full strength from these rare special distilleries, we’d expect a hefty price tag. Since we have the California exclusive, we can offer you this amazing whisky for the best price anywhere in the world. Enjoy it now or stock up for the 2018 Holidays.


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