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BenRiach • A Speyside Malt

 In 2018, Rachel Barrie became the first female master blender to be awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Edinburgh

The modern chapter of BenRiach was written in 2016.

In that year, American spirits giant Brown Forman (most renowned for Jack Daniel’s) acquired the distillery founded in 1898 by John Duff.

Brown Forman lost no time in making a decision that was to alter the course and fortunes of the Speyside Single Malt.

In 2017, BenRiach appointed Rachel Barrie as Master Blender.


BenRiach is a Speymide Single Malt

Born in the Garioach district of Aberdeenshire, Rachel Barrie was raised to appreciate the nuances of the locally distilled malt whisky. She earned an honours degree in Chemistry from Edinburgh University and began her career as a research scientist at the Scotch Whisky Research Institute.

Gifted with a natural talent for tasting and armed with her formidable training, Rachel Barrie transitioned into whisky production, helping develop brands such as Bowmore, Auchentoshan, Laphroaig, Ardmore, and Glenmorangie. By the time she joined BenRiach, the Scots woman counted 26 years of experience. High recognition of Rachel Barrie’s contribution to the industry came a year later.

In 2018, Rachel Barrie became the first female master blender to be awarded an honorary doctorate by her alma mater the University of Edinburgh. In bestowing her an honorary Doctor of Science, the university cited her “expertise and service to the whisky industry”.

“My quest has been to unlock a deeper understanding of the distillation, maturation and provenance of Scotch, to develop and nurture richness of character and taste and celebrate it with the world. It’s a great privilege to be recognised in this endeavour”

Inspiring words from a trail blazer.

Rachel Barrie has also been made a Keeper of the Quaich. And inducted into the “Whisky Hall of Fame” of Whisky Magazine.

In a career now spanning almost 30 years, she has sampled more than 150,000 malt whisky casks.  And counting.

Most importantly for Brown Forman, Rachel Barrie continues to unlock the secrets and magic of Scotch whisky in the service of the GlenDronachGlenglassaugh, and BenRiach.

Tasting Notes

BenRiach The Smoky Twelve

Rich, controlled smokiness with a ginseng aspect. And almonds. The peat used is Highland peat, quite different from that of Islay which is more pungent, medicinal and iodine. Maturation in three different casks that had held bourbon, sherry and Marsala. Bottled at 46% ABV, the fruit, structure, texture, smoke and gentle sweetness is seamless from entry to spirited finish. Smokin!

BenRiach The Twenty One

Citrus peel, marmalade, light smoke, toffee and figs. Lovely brightness of fruit. Smooth, mellow, and sweet. Matured in four different types of cask: bourbon, sherry, virgin oak, and Bordeaux red wine. Bottled at 46% ABV. As with all BenRiach Single Malts, no colour added nor cold filtration.

BenRiach The Twenty Five

Less aromatic than The Twenty One. Dried fruits and a mellow smokiness. Complete with a spiced, minerally aspect. Matured, as The Twenty One, in four different types of cask: sherry, bourbon, virgin oak, and Madeira. Bottled at 46% ABV.

BenRiach 25 Years 1992 Cask 979 Batch 15 Port Cask

Turkish Delight, figs, and woody. Port influence is evident, so too a suggestion of Sherry’s Pedro Ximenez. Very different from above three expressions. Particular, exotic, and singular. It’s as if Laurence Olivier – after a lifetime cultivating dramatic roles – decided to cast himself as an action movie star. This single cask was bottled at 53.9% ABV.

CH’NG Poh Tiong was inducted as a Keeper of the Quaich in 2012 in Blair Castle. He is Tasting Director of Singapore World Spirits Competition, founded by Anthony Dias Blue of San Francisco World Spirits Competition

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