- Nick's Import
The Lost Distillery Company Jericho Classic Selection Blended Malt Scotch Whisky (700ml)
There are two tiers in the Lost Distillery Company series. The 'Classic' label expressions are lower proof versions (43% as opposed to 46%). The blends employ a variety of malts in order to recreate the imagined flavour profiles of some of Scotland's long closed distilleries.
Jericho Distillery (1822-1913) was founded by William Smith, a deeply religious farmer and the brother of a preacher from the nearby Parish of Oyne. Production started quickly, and by November 1824 ‘Whisky from Jericho Distillery’ was advertised for sale in Aberdeen. ‘Jericho Distillery Whisky from Jericho Distillery is to be had in Aberdeen only at the shop of Will. Milne, 39 Broad Street.’ Production in the early years was on a modest scale. The extremely small stills and rudimentary equipment was further evidence of the recent and short transition from unlicensed to legal distiller. The small still whisky proved popular and was sold throughout Aberdeenshire. Its reputation and fortunes progressed, and the distillery was in good hands when Smith passed on the distillery to his stepson, assistant and heir John Maitland in 1864.
Like others of its era, the distillery would have utilised a combination of wild yeast and homemade cultures in the early years. Wild yeasts were air-borne and notoriously unpredictable and did not tolerate low ambient temperatures. Homemade cultures from potatoes and sugar were prone to creating off notes and were frequently full of bacteria and other contaminants. Dried yeast offered far greater reliability than wild yeast and allowed the newly modernised Benachie to produce wash of consistent gravity. The quality and flavour of whisky was significantly improved as a result. Peat was readily available in the Aberdeenshire area where Jericho resided; indeed, it was noted as a selling point of the distillery when it was put up for sale in 1883. Derived from decomposed moss, shrub, leaf mush and heather, the peat would have added an earthy, woody note to the whisky. Used extensively by farm distilleries like Jericho in the distillation process, including to fire the stills, peat was still utilised by the modernised Benachie as the sole fuel to dry the barley, leaving an indelible mark on the character of the spirit.
Both Jericho and, in later years, Benachie specialised in small still whisky distillation, a continuation of techniques originating from the unlicensed pre-1823 era. A comparison of still capacity shows the progression made by the distillery – these stills would have produced an extremely heavy and oily spirit. When the still house was redesigned in the early 1880’s, Callander and Graham installed new stills. As the Second World War dawned, a dance was held to celebrate a wedding in the old malt barns of Benachie. An old cask of Benachie was pulled out, probably the last in existence. The wedding guests danced the night away, emptying the cask in the process. It was assumed that they would be the last people to taste the delicious, sherry-matured whisky that made first Jericho then later Benachie so famous. In this bottling, notes of fruit cake, tangerine, herbs and vanilla have been captured to evoke what the original house style was probably like. 43% Alc./Vol. Reported to be non chill filtered, though not stated on the label.
Other reviews... Benachie, formerly known as Jericho, was an Aberdeenshire distillery built southeast of Huntly that existed from 1822–1913. A dark amber dram with a nose of marmalade, ground almond, cherry lips, and vanilla essence. Attractive, but not overly aromatic. Cooked plums after a peppery rush begin an attenuated flavor journey, exiting with a spicy finale. 84 points - whiskyadvocate.com, reviewed by: Jonny McCormick 2017