About this SPIRIT
Benrinnes Distillery, Speyside
Benrinnes Distillery lays on a summit that overlooks the lower Spey Valley, the mass of the Cairngorm Mountains and to the north, the sweep of the Moray Firth, with distant Easter Ross and Sutherland hills beyond. Ben Rinnes mountain range (spanning nearly 50 square kilometres) gives its name, albeit as one word, to the distillery. In its early years, it started out as part of a farm, with various outhouses being converted into stills.
It was rebuilt as a distillery when the buildings were destroyed during floods in 1829. Benrinnes underwent a second make-over in 1955 and the traditional floor maltings were replaced by a so-called 'Saladin Box' in 1964. This is a giant flat box that mechanically turns the germinating barley inside and allows air to pass through it. The Saladin Box (named after its inventor Charles Saladin) was removed again in 1984 when Benrinnes stopped producing its own malted barley.
The distillery has enjoyed almost continual production, aside a brief closure during the two world wars. The single malt is highly acclaimed by blenders. Its partial triple distillation makes it one of the most individualistic malts in the Diageo (its current owners) portfolio.
To some Speyside represents the jewel in whisky’s crown. Speyside is the home of legal whisky production and it’s best known examples. Around the world Glenlivet, Macallan, Glenfiddich, Glenrothes and Glenfarclas typify all that whisky, at it’s best has to offer. At it’s heart running from the Monadhliath mountains north to the sea, is the River Spey. It is the fastest flowing river in Britain, and also well known for its salmon fishing.
Speyside is the principal whisky-producing region: Speyside has within it some forty-six operating distilleries - over half the total number in the entire Scotland.
Speysides are essentially sweet whiskies. They have little peaty character They are typically highly perfumed, feminine and elegant.
The classical nature of Speyside’s malts means that a number of the finest malts are used almost exclusively for blending. It is the top Speysider’s that give good blends their ‘Top Dressing’.
Malts such as Mortlach, Glen Elgin, Strathmill and Benrinnes are rarely found as distillery bottlings, however when individual casks are tracked down by independent bottlers such as our Own Selection Single Malt Whiskies the resultant whisky can be quite wonderful.