Benromach. Gordon & MacPhail's venture out of independent bottling.
Benromach. This is the one and only Gordon MacPhail Bottling Companies only distillery. The purchase went through to the family in 1993 and they planned to make a spirit that was spicy with fruit flavors. The company Gordon and MacPhail has been around since the early 19th century. Their business ventures have of course evolved, but they were independent bottlers who would buy spirit, mature it themselves and make blends. They also have a few retail store locations, specifically the largest which is in Elgin, Scotland in the heart of The Malt Whisky Trail. As of right now the distillery is producing as hoped- a spicy, fruity dram, but it also is known to have a slight peat flavor as well.
Only three total production workers are needed on site and they are only producing Monday through Friday. This is giving them production of around 400,000 liters of new make spirit per year. They do plan on expanding though. They were adding an additional 9 Scottish lark washbacks. This will help them to increase to their capacity. Their mill is actually not a Porteus! They bought their mill from a local brewery. The mashtun was copper and quite small, only about 1500 kg of grist goes in. They run three waters and then the wort is moved to one of the four existing Scottish lark washbacks. They use a combination of distiller and brewer’s yeast. Fermentation lasts for about 3-5 days and then is moved to their stills. They have quite a significant bulge in the spirit still, but the wash still was not as tall as expected. Maybe this is where the spicy notes are coming from in the new make spirit. They then fill the casks on site and Gordon and Macphail of course bottles it in their bottling plan next door in Elgin.
Demand is high, which is good! Their top countries for sales include France and Germany. They are aging in quite a variety of casks, but as usual, they typically will have their spirit start in bourbon barrels. They apparently buy their casks directly from Jim Beam. They also have a relationship in Jerez with Williams and Hubert Soleras. Check them out, I really want to go to Jerez! They also have an organic whisky and this is aged in virgin oak from Missouri. This is to keep it completely organic throughout the production and aging process.
Here is the 10 year old that I tried..
Benromach 10 Year
Holly’s Tasting Notes..
Nose: Oatmeal, slightly medicinal, dried cranberries, ripe apples, peanut brittle and burnt wood.
Palate: Wood spice, campfire smoke (not as medicinal), some crisp toffee biscuit.
This was a little too spicy on the pallet for me.
Next up is Glen Grant..