Make a bee line for Benriach
As any good writer knows, “There is no bad whisky. There are only some whiskies that aren’t as good as others, ” according to Raymond Chandler. One of the most revered styles of whisky on the planet comes from Scotland’s Speyside. Speyside sits between Inverness (home to the Lochness Monster) and Aberdeen. It is here you will find a relatively drier Scottish climate close to barley fields, seaports and most importantly very soft water.
There are around fifty distilleries in Speyside but the one you need to make a bee line for is the Benriach Distillery. Dating from 1898, Benriach stands on the site of the old Riach farm in north Speyside, drawing water from a mineral-rich aquifer, deep beneath the distillery. Courtesy of a long-standing tradition of distilling three styles of whisky; classic unpeated, Highland peated and triple distilled, together with an eclectic selection of casks from around the world, Benriach whisky makers are able to explore the full flavour possibilities of single malt, creating some of the richest, most multi-layered whiskies in Speyside.
Dark chocolate curled between smoky layers
If you like rich layers of smoke delicately curled between malt, fruit and a hint of dark chocolate, Benriach’s Smoky Twelve is the one for you. Three cask matured in an unconventional mix of bourbon, sherry and Marsala this creamy and smooth single malt is multilayered with flavours of ripened fruit, aromatic smoky sweetness and warming oak spice. Benriach’s Smoky Twelve offers a slightly peaty whisky which is floral yet earthy rather than the marine phenolic iodine of Islay.
Keep this secret from every Scotsman
Don’t tell a Scotsman this, but put a drop of water in for the smoke to become more prominent both on the nose and the palate. He’ll call you a heathen but at least you’re not drinking it with cola – then he’d ban you from Scotland altogether.
Speyside whiskies have been celebrated since the 1800s. Lord Byron sent gifts of Speyside single malts to his wedding guests including King George III.
Celebrities drinking whisky
So join celebrities like Lady Gaga, Frank Sinatra and Beyonce who all enjoy a dram of whisky and head to Dan Murphy’s for your very own bottle of Smoky Twelve.
Nose: Ripe orchard fruit syrup, smoked honey glaze and oak spice
Palate: Smoked applewood, honey maple and spiced pear finishing with lingering fruit and smoked oak
Smoke Level: Rich
700mL, Abv 46%
This tradition continues today, under the guidance of Master Blender, Dr Rachel Barrie. Benriach is the story of a hidden Speyside gem, quietly revealing its treasures to be discovered and savoured.
Food pairing with Benriach
Whisky is wonderful alone but if you’d like to pair it with some food, stay away from garlic and spice. Try heavily roasted nuts such as peanuts, cashews and walnuts. Olives also go well with Scotch because the saltiness especially of stuffed olives brings out the flavour of the Scotch. They’re also great in whiskey sour and the old-fashioned. Hummus and chunky salsa dips with tortilla chips pair well with the single malt. And finally, don’t go past an apple pie with your whisky.
“Too much of anything is bad, but too much good whiskey is barely enough.” Mark Twain