Whisky making may be bred in the bone for the purveyors of Benromach, but that doesn’t mean the craft gets any easier with time. On the contrary, the Urquhart family – owners of Gordon & MacPhail – maintains its handcrafted traditions to ensure that ancestral integrity remains intact.
As managing director of the distillery, Richard Urquhart represents the fourth generation of the family that carries on a legacy of whisky production that stretches back to 1898. Though business ebbed and flowed, the distillery was reopened in 1993, and steadily built a loyal following.
Urquhart extols the benefits of Benromach maintaining a signature Speyside style while pursuing an ambitious approach to their expanding portfolio. He depicts the classic style of 50+ years ago as, “elegant, fruity and slightly smoky,” thanks to the use of peat along with coal in their production.
That signature taste is best captured by the Benromach 10 YO from their Classic range. “It’s exactly how these older styles of Speyside whiskies would have been,” he says. Of the sibling Benromach 15 YO, he enthuses, “This is a stunning dram. It is matured in first fill sherry casks and first fill ex-bourbon casks, but there is a stronger character developing from the sherry casks for more stewed fruit and spicy notes.”
Here, the art of whisky making is best captured through what Urquhart refers to as “the fourth ingredient” – the three distillers (a fourth is currently in training) who anchor the operation. They have a profound influence on the range of expressions, as this distillery tends to shun the need for any automated practices or methods that typically speed production.
To encounter a broader profile from Benromach, Urquhart points out their Contrasts range. The Benromach Organic 2010 is the world’s first organic single malt Scotch, which uses certified organic barley and oak casks made from a certified organically managed forest in Missouri.
And, falling under their Wood Finish range, the Sassicaia Wood 2007 which is aged in first fill bourbon casks and then Sassicaia wine casks from Tuscany for a sweeter, gently smoky whisky. Note that only 3,500 bottles of this range are released worldwide each year.
Yes, there are many family members to discover. Come to the Whisky Shop to find which taste suits you this season.
Read on to learn about Bruichladdich.