When he compared Benromach’s approach to whisky making to the technique of reverse engineering, our tour guide Robert was only half-joking. Cause whatever the Forres-based distillery plans and wherever it heads, it always has one eye directed at the future and one at the past. Right from the beginning, its current owners Gordon & MacPhail had a clear vision of what to do with the moth-balled production unit they acquired: To whip it into shape again and use it to bring the traditional, pre-1960s Speyside style (i.e. smoky and fruity in equal shares) back to life. Today, this rare but rich-in-tradition flavor profile is one of the things drammers value the most in Benromach. Mission accomplished!
To create an authentic product, the 15-strong distillery team (three of which work directly in production) utilize vintage equipment as much as they can. “The cash register in the shop and the TV, on which the tour’s introductory film is shown, are the most state-of-the-art pieces of technology you will find around here”, Robert told us with a smile on his face. While I am sure they also got a computer somewhere in a sideroom, the bulk of Benromach’s gear and set-up does indeed come from a time long past. Their tireless Boby mill dates back to the early 20th century. Their wooden washbacks are 65 years of age. And their duo of copper stills (one wash still and one spirit still) is clear of any auxiliaries except for two cooking windows. Every drop the wee distillery produces is made the old-school way.
If you already took a glimpse at the gallery below, you might have noticed that I did not take any photos from the production area, the warehouses or any of the other locations “where the magic happens”. That is because Benromach would like for their guests to see these special spots on-site rather than on the internet. So without giving anything else away, let me just say this: If you are lucky to spend some time in Speyside – be it just a weekend or a bigger amount of days – you are highly recommended to check Benromach out for yourself. It is super-easy to reach (if you do a 360° spin after leaving the train to Forres, you will already see the iconic red chimney close by) and the wonderful people working there will make your visit a close, intimate and personal experience. Just be sure you have some extra time on your hands. Given the fine selection of drams they have on the menu in the Visitor Centre, there is a good chance that the complimentary dram of Benromach 10yo, which you will receive at the end of the tour, will not be the only pour you drink at one of Speyside’s smallest and most lovable distilleries!
Name: Benromach Distillery
Type: Malt whisky distillery
Address: Benromach Distillery Company Ltd., Invererne Road, Forres, Moray IV36 3EB, Scotland
Opening times: Mon till Fri (10am to 4pm) from Oct till March, Mon till Sat (9.30am to 5pm) from April till September + Sun (10am to 4pm) in June, July and August
More info: https://www.benromach.com (Website)