We are pleased to be able to offer Benriach Curiositas as this months whisky.
BenRiach Distillery was built in 1898 by the Grant Family in Speyside, and commissioned only months before the Pattison Crash, which devastated the whisky industry when Pattison’s of Leith (the largest wholesaler and blender of Scotch Whisky) went bankrupt. Fortunately the floor maltings remained in production supplying malt for Longmorn and many local distilleries. Finally in 1965 BenRiach was bought by Glenlivet distillers who modernised and rebuild the distillery. In 1978 Seagrams of Canada bought Glenlivet distillers, including BenRiach distillery. The first Benriach single malt is finally released in 1994. With the continued rationalisation of the liquor industry, Seagrams is acquired by the French Company Pernod Ricard, who reduce throughput by 75% and finally stop producing altogether in 2002. Shortly thereafter a consortium of whisky enthusiasts purchases BenRiach. Unshackled for the first time, the distillery now makes single malt whiskies exclusively, rather than producing the back bone of blends.
BenRiach nowadays is a fiercely independent whisky distillery and show this independence through their variety of expressions. We have already tried a number of the BenRiach wood finishes in the past, but this whisky is a big deviation. The BenRiach range with Latin names are peated versions of the Benriach, this being their ‘entry level’ peated expression.
A heavily peated Speyside whisky might seem odd to some, but Benriach Curiositas is trying to re-create the ‘original’ flavour of Speyside before the Phylloxera plague decimated the grape vines of Europe. Prior to the plague all single malts were peated. Peat was burned to make the malted barley. It was only that the Courts of Europe did not favour peaty flavours and prefer a dink closer in flavour to Cognac that air drying of barley was developed.
So it could be said that this is the original flavour of Speyside, and for mine it is great. The traditional sweeter Speyside style is complemented by rich almost sour peat flavours creating a sweet/ sour dichotomy which is in balance and harmony.
After the initial shock of the peat intensity, the more subtle flavours of the delicate Speyside whisky which lies beneath. The flavour interplay continues on the pallet creating a fascinating symphony of interwoven flavours.