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Issue 77 - The pride of Speyside

Whisky Magazine Issue 77
January 2009

 

This article is 5 years old and some information provided may be time sensitive. Please check all details of events, tours, opening times and other information before travelling or making arrangements.

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The pride of Speyside

BenRiach is still relatively unknown but it's a gem of a distillery and as Dominic Roskrow reports,it will continue to punch above its weight.

The devil, they say, is in the detail, and detail is everything to Billy Walker.

He's one of a team of three who own BenRiach distillery in the heart of Speyside, and as soon as he walks through the distillery doors his eyes wander off to the darkest recesses, linger on polished fittings and rove round the mills, washbacks and mash tuns.When we're joined by distillery manager Stuart Buchanan he evaporates into the recesses of the distillery.

When he emerges he's satisfied and says so, Stuart Buchanan is non-plussed. It's as if both men couldn't imagine it being any other way.

“The people in the North East are hard workers,”Walker says later.

“That's what I really like about them.You don't have to tell them to do things, they look for jobs and do them.They take pride in what they do.” He has a point.Wherever you turn at BenRiach there are signs of that pride; everything ordered and tidy, spotlessly clean, in working order and ready to go.And it's in evidence at Glendronach, too,and best reflected quite literally by the large plate of mirror-like copper and brass fittings that adorn the underback.Maybe it's a company thing.

Ah,Glendronach.To complete a journey round the BenRiach Distillery Company it's necessary to take a detour to the company's new acquisition. Since Whisky Magazine planned the trip to write about BenRiach it's fair to say that events have run ahead of themselves.Walker and his South African business partners Geoff Bell and Wayne Keiswetter beat o...

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