Langside Distillers 'Distiller's Art' Benrinnes 14 Year Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky Speyside Scotland
The history of Benrinnes begins in the plains below the largest mountain in the area, Ben Rinnes. Astute readers will correctly note that that the original owner was not overly imaginative and named his distillery for the summit two miles away. Small scale whisky production occurred on a nearby farm in the Speyside before tax records kicked in, but Benrinnes as a single malt concern first began in 1826 by one Peter MacKenzie. We say first began because its location on a flood plain became plainly foolhardy when it was destroyed three years later. Another Scotsman, John Innes, began again and in 1835 another distillery rose in the area of the original, though thankfully not at the same location. As was often the case in 1800s, the distillery changed hands a handful of times in the 1800s before being bought in 1922 by John Dewar & Sons. Three years later John Dewar & Sons was absorbed into the precursor of Diageo, where the distillery has stayed until this day. Benriennes remains in such high demand by whisky blenders that Diageo hasn’t been bothered to create a brand let alone a website for the distillery. You may have had occasion to have unknowingly had a Benrinnes in the past; Dewar Rattray ’ s Stronachie is a bastard malt (created brand not place) of Benrinnes.
The distillery setup of Benriennes is highly unusual and has even been the source of a little fun from other independent bottlers. While most distilleries in Scotland have a matched pair of stills, Benriennes has two sets of three. The stills are first a Wash Still, second a Low Wines still, and third the Spirits Still. The low wines from the first distillation in the wash still are split into strong and weak feints. The lower-strength portion was redistilled in the middle still and split into two again, with the stronger part [strong feints] being carried forward, the weaker being retained for the next charge. The strong feints were then mixed with the highest strength distillate from the wash still and redistilled in the spirit still. This partial triple distillation is used to create a meaty almost beefy new make character. Everything is run through worm tubs which are kept very cold, further adding texture to the spirit.