Though the village of Craigellachie may be more famous as the home of The Macallan, as well as the confluence of the rivers Spey and Fiddich, it is also home to the Craigellachie Distillery. It has generally flown under the whisky radar due to the fact that its output has always gone into blends, specifically Dewar’s (the distillery is owned by Bicardi but managed directly by Dewar & Sons). Thankfully, a few single malt expressions have been put out as part of Dewar’s Last Great Malts series, which focuses on new expressions and malts never released before. Aside from being uncompromising in taste, the distillery is also known for the use of the unique worm tubs, a call back to an earlier time in whisky production.
Tamdhu makes no bones about tapping into the Scottish ingenuity found prominently in the Enlightenment. Built in 1898 by a consortium of Scottish whisky traders, the distillery lays along the River Spey with the stated aim of producing the finest whisky possible. At least until it closed in 2010. With a resurgence of whisky in full swing, however, the site didn’t remain stagnant for long and was purchased in 2011 by Ian Macleod Distillers to be reborn in 2013 with the same Can-Dhu spirit (trust us, they make use of this wordplay too). Being so new, in a sense, the distillery only has three main offerings, with this 10 year being the flagship.
Benromach is a distillery that wants to take you back a stretch. Back before distilleries and whisky production became so automated, so dependent on technology. Eschewing computerized processes (do they allow pocket calculators?), this distillery looks to the early 20th century for guidance, when Speyside whiskies were made using peat smoke on site and everything was done by hand. In these days of spirit conglomerates, special attention is given to the artistry provided by the three distillers working at Benromach. It is a whisky that promotes the traditions of scotch production and promises to reward the patience needed.