Full credit to South African financial backers Geoff Bell and Wayne Keiswetter who, along with Scottish whisky expert Billy Walker, combined efforts to revive the famed BenRiach distillery. Located in the heart of Speyside – the Spey Valley, no less – this distillery had been taken over by beverage giant Pernod-Ricard in 2001 and unceremoniously shut down a year later.
Come 2004, these independent whisky makers took over and the distillery reopened its doors for production. With the inventory of existing liquid intact, the distillery could carry on with ageing its stock and producing new expressions. While it’s uncommon for independents to compete in this challenging market, these were serious whisky makers who were determined to carry on the BenRiach legacy.
That ambition has served them well and they’ve earned a devoted following in the process. As the distillery was awarded the Global Whisky Distiller of the Year (2015) at the recent World Whiskies Awards, it’s clear that there’ll be many more notable BenRiach releases to come.