Benromach Distillery

  • Scotland
  • International Wine & Spirit Competition (IWSC) 2022, World Whiskies Awards 2018, Spirit of Speyside Whisky Awards 2019
Phone Number
  • +441309675968
  • Rd, Forres IV36 3EB, United Kingdom

Benromach Distillery building with red chimney.

History of Benromach Distillery


Benromach Distillery, nestled in Forres, near Elgin, Speyside, Scotland, represents a significant chapter in the whisky industry’s rich tapestry. Established in 1898, the distillery’s journey from its inception to its present-day status as a revered single malt producer is a story of resilience, innovation, and commitment to tradition.

Founding and Early Years

The Beginnings: Benromach was founded in 1898, marking its entry into the burgeoning Scotch whisky industry of the late 19th century. This period saw a boom in whisky production, with distilleries popping up across Scotland to cater to the growing demand for this spirit.

Twentieth Century Challenges and Revival

Twentieth Century: The distillery’s early years were marked by the typical challenges of the era, including economic fluctuations and changes in ownership. Despite these hurdles, Benromach persevered, continuing to produce whisky that gradually built a reputation for quality.

Acquisition by Gordon & MacPhail: In 1993, Benromach found a new lease on life when it was acquired by the Urquhart family, owners of Gordon & MacPhail. The family was driven by a vision to revive the lost art of traditional Speyside whisky making, emphasizing a hands-on, sensory approach to distillation that had fallen by the wayside in the face of modernization.

A New Chapter: Reopening and Philosophy

Reopening by Prince Charles: The distillery’s official reopening in 1998 by Prince Charles heralded a new chapter in its history. This event wasn’t just ceremonial; it signified the Urquhart family’s commitment to restoring the classic Speyside style characterized by a subtle peat smoke flavor, a departure from the region’s predominantly unpeated whiskies.

Craftsmanship and Ingredients: Central to Benromach’s philosophy is the commitment to craftsmanship and the use of traditional ingredients. Barley, water from the Chapelton Spring in the nearby Romach Hills, yeast, and a human touch define their process. The distillery prides itself on making whisky by hand, ensuring a product that’s as authentic as it is flavorful.

Today’s Benromach: Tradition Meets Innovation

Current Operations: Today, Benromach stands as a testament to the values of traditional whisky making, coupled with a willingness to innovate. While remaining rooted in the techniques that defined Speyside whiskies decades ago, the distillery also explores new avenues through its Contrasts range of whiskies and limited edition releases.

Ownership and Legacy: Owned by Gordon & MacPhail, Benromach benefits from the extensive experience and passion of a family deeply embedded in the whisky industry. This connection ensures that, while Benromach looks to the future, it never loses sight of the heritage and traditions that make Speyside whisky unique.

Benromach Distillery’s story is one of passion, tradition, and resilience. From its 19th-century origins to its 21st-century innovations, the distillery has navigated the challenges of the whisky industry while maintaining a steadfast commitment to quality and tradition. As it continues to produce its signature Speyside single malts, Benromach remains a symbol of Scotch whisky’s enduring legacy and its capacity for renewal.

Awards Won by Benromach Distillery

International Wine & Spirit Competition (IWSC) 2022: Benromach secured three Gold awards for its Benromach Organic, Benromach 15-Year-Old, and Benromach 10-Year-Old whiskies. The Benromach Organic is notable for being the world’s first certified organic single malt whisky​​.

San Francisco World Spirits Competition: The distillery achieved remarkable success by winning three Double Gold medals for its 10-year-old, 15-year-old, and 21-year-old single malts. The Double Gold medal is awarded to whiskies that receive a unanimous Gold rating from the judging panel​​.

San Francisco World Spirits Competition ‘Best in Show’: The Benromach 40 Year Old Single Malt was awarded the ‘Best in Show’ title at the competition, marking it as the top winner among all entries in its category​​.

World Whiskies Awards 2018: The Benromach 15 Years Old won in the Speyside category, being named the Best Speyside Single Malt Scotch​​.

Spirit of Speyside Whisky Awards 2019: Benromach 10 Years Old won in the 12 Years & Under category, a competition unique for being judged by the public, industry experts, and festival visitors​​.

World Whiskies Awards 2018: The Benromach 15 Years Old and Benromach 10 Years Old received gold medals in their respective categories, highlighting their quality and the distillery’s craftsmanship.

Benromach Distillery Tour Information and Experience

The Benromach Distillery offers a variety of tours and tastings that provide an in-depth look into the craftsmanship behind their Single Malt Scotch Whisky. Here’s an overview of the unique experiences they offer:

The Classic Tour

  • Duration: 1 hour
  • Cost: £10 per person
  • Experience: This tour offers a firsthand look at how Benromach Single Malt Scotch Whisky is made, delving into the distillery’s history, heritage, and handcrafted methods of whisky production. Guests are guided through the traditional distillery by an experienced host, ensuring a comprehensive understanding of Benromach’s whisky-making process.

The Contrast Tour

  • Duration: 1.5 hours
  • Cost: £25 per person
  • Experience: After learning about the whisky-making process, participants are guided through a tasting session that compares and contrasts Benromach’s Contrast range with the Classic Benromach whiskies. This tour is designed to highlight the nuances of the distillery’s offerings, guided by an experienced host.

The Heritage Tour

  • Duration: 2 hours
  • Cost: £75 per person
  • Experience: This tour focuses on the rich heritage of the distillery, offering a tutored tasting of unique and rare Benromach whiskies, selected personally by the Distillery Manager. The experience is enriched with stories from Benromach’s past and present, providing a deep dive into the distillery’s legacy.

Manager’s Experience

  • Duration: 90-120 minutes
  • Cost: £350 per person, including a 70cl bottle of Benromach Distillery Exclusive
  • Availability: By appointment only, with a maximum group size of 6
  • Experience: An in-depth, immersive experience led by Distillery Manager Keith Cruickshank, who has over 30 years of distilling experience. This tour offers an unparalleled insight into the making of Benromach whiskies, from the perspective of someone who knows it best.

The Red Door Experience

  • Cost: £10 per person, including a signature Red Door G&T
  • Experience: Although primarily known for whisky, this experience takes visitors behind the red door to discover the secrets of Benromach’s handcrafted Highland gin, providing a different perspective on the distillery’s craft.

Additional Information

  • Age Limit: Tours are available to visitors aged 18 and over.
  • Booking Notice: A minimum of 48 hours notice is required for booking.
  • Group Size: Tours are generally limited to a maximum of 8 people, unless by special request.
  • Visitor Centre Hours: Monday-Friday, 10:00-16:00. Closed on Saturdays, Sundays, and some public holidays.
  • Booking Confirmation: Visitors need to request a booking through the website forms, and confirmation will be provided by the visitor centre team.

For those interested in exploring the traditional art of whisky making, Benromach Distillery offers a range of tours that cater to various interests and depths of experience, from casual whisky enthusiasts to connoisseurs looking for a deep dive into the distillery’s heritage and production methods.

Flask & Barrel Review of Benromach Distillery

As someone who’s seen the ins and outs of more distilleries than I can count, my visit to Benromach Distillery stands out as a highlight. I’d give it a solid 4.7 out of 5. Here’s why:

First off, the setting is something else. Nestled in Speyside, Benromach has this old-school charm mixed with a touch of modernity that hits you the moment you step in. The tour itself was top-notch. The guides aren’t just walking encyclopedias of whisky; they’re storytellers, bringing to life the distillery’s history and the meticulous process behind their whisky making.

The tasting session was the cherry on top. I’ve had my fair share of whiskies, but Benromach’s range was both impressive and distinct. The 10-year-old was a perfect start, rich and complex, while the 15-year-old added depth with its sherry influences. And, of course, the 21-Year-Old was a masterclass in balance and refinement. Each sip felt like a journey through time and tradition.

What’s remarkable about Benromach is its commitment to handcrafted whisky. In an age where automation is king, it’s refreshing to see a distillery that values the human touch. It’s not just about producing whisky; it’s about crafting a legacy.

If I had to nitpick, the only thing that keeps me from a full 5-star review is the accessibility. It’s a bit out of the way, which adds to its charm but also makes it a trek. However, once you’re there, it’s worth it.

What To Do Nearby Benromach Distillery

Cawdor Castle and Gardens: A picturesque 14th-century castle with beautiful gardens and a rich history tied to Shakespeare’s Macbeth. It’s about 20 miles from Benromach Distillery, providing a perfect blend of history and nature.

Brodie Castle: Located roughly 10 miles away, this 16th-century castle houses an impressive collection of antiques and artwork, set within extensive parkland.

Cardhu Distillery: Just over 20 miles from Benromach, Cardhu offers another chance to delve into the world of whisky with tours and tastings. It’s known for its rich history and as the home of Johnnie Walker blends.

Nairn Beach: Approximately 15 miles away, this beautiful stretch of sand offers scenic views and a peaceful escape to nature.

ACE Adventures & Hideaways: Around 10 miles from the distillery, it’s a great spot for outdoor activities like white water rafting, paintball, and disc golf.

Glen Moray Distillery: Located in Elgin, about 15 miles from Benromach, offering tours and tastings with insights into their whisky production.

Fort George: This imposing 18th-century fortress, about 25 miles away, offers breathtaking views and a deep dive into Scottish military history.

Morayvia: An innovative science and technology experience center, focusing on aerospace and maritime heritage, around 20 miles from Benromach.

Elgin Cathedral: Known as the ‘Lantern of the North’, this stunning ruin about 15 miles away showcases the architectural magnificence of the past.

Logie Steading: A unique shopping and leisure experience set in the countryside, just over 10 miles away, offering shops, cafes, and walks.

Frequently Asked Questions

What restaurants are near Benromach Distillery?

The Bonnie Beastie: It has a rating of 4.7 stars on Google Maps. For reservations, you can reach out to them on their phone at +44 1309 747003. Their address is 2 Tolbooth St, Forres IV36 1PH, United Kingdom.

Chimes: It has a rating of 4.5 stars on Google Maps. For reservations, you can contact them at +44 1309 672542. Their address is 69-71 High St, Forres IV36 1AE, United Kingdom.

Cardamon Spice: It has a rating of 4.4 stars on Google Maps. You can make reservations by calling them at +44 1309 673277. Their address is 64-66 High St, Forres IV36 1PQ, United Kingdom.

What hotels are near Benromach Distillery?

The Carlton Hotel: It has a rating of 4.0 stars on Google Maps. For reservations, you can reach out to them on their phone at +44 1309 679754. Their address is 67 High St, Forres IV36 1AE, United Kingdom.

Firlands Lodge: It has a rating of 4.5 stars on Google Maps. For reservations, you can contact them at +44 7958 178609. Their address is 103 St Leonards Rd, Forres IV36 2RE, United Kingdom.

The Carisbrooke: It has a rating of 4.4 stars on Google Maps. You can make reservations by calling them at +44 1309 672585. Their address is The Carisbrooke, Drumduan Rd, Forres IV36 1BS, United Kingdom.