BenRiach has teamed up with an award-winning Scottish artist to bring its sensory palette to life.
This is being achieved through a series of abstract paintings inspired by the Speyside distillery’s landscape, architecture and kaleidoscope of flavour.
Taking inspiration from the distillery’s extensive library of some of the world’s most eclectic casks housed in Warehouse 13, contemporary landscape artist Ellis O’Connor has been commissioned to create a trio of dramatic landscapes influenced by the three casks used to make up the BenRiach 10 Year Old.
The deconstruction of this expression will create three pieces of art that fuse the flavour palette of BenRiach with Ellis’ signature painting style, the collection will be crafted at her studio on the outer Hebridean island of North Uist before being exhibited in Hackney’s underground bar, TT Liquor during Scotch Whisky Weekend in January 2020.
At the event, Ellis will appear in conversation with the BenRiach team discussing where she found inspiration for these commissions. Guests will get the chance to explore the palette of BenRiach for themselves through a ‘painting by tasting notes’ workshop where Ellis will guide them to explore the depths of BenRiach by harnessing their own creativity.
With a particular focus on the casks used to mature the BenRiach Aged 10 Years, O’Connor draws inspiration from the flavours drawn from the Oloroso sherry, bourbon and virgin oak casks which give a perfect balance of fruit, malt and oak. The bourbon cask gives vanilla and orchard fruits, Oloroso sherry gives the sweet creaminess of the malt and virgin oak gives a touch of toasted spice, all in sublime synchronicity.
Following its three-cask maturation for over a decade it has been expertly combined by master blender Dr Rachel Barrie to create a smooth, multi-layered flavour experience, thanks to its multiple eclectic casks from around the world.
Ellis, who originally hails from Dundee, studied fine art at Duncan of Jordanstone art school. Since then she has continued her studies, which has led her to travel to remote lands to partake in a number of artists’ residencies.
BenRiach decided that Ellis was right for this partnership due to her unique approach to art, connection to an eclectic audience and love for whisky.
Artist Ellis said: ‘Speyside is renowned for its big skies, fast flowing river and of course, whisky, so when the opportunity arose to bring this climatic corner of Scotland to life on canvas on behalf of its most creative distillery, I jumped at the chance.
‘BenRiach is packed full of innovation, experimentative heritage and flavour and I wanted to depict that through the essence of its flagship whisky BenRiach Aged 10 Years and how it speaks to me through the colours and movement on the canvas. Each canvas will have a distinct colour that explores the flavour profile of the single malt and its cask journey.’
Dr Rachel Barrie added: ‘At BenRiach we are known for doing things a little differently, always exploring the creative possibilities of our Speyside malt.
‘We have a creative approach to whisky distilling, cask maturation and blending, which Ellis has embraced in her approach to illustrating BenRiach’s eclectic mix of cask types and rich layers of BenRiach Aged 10 Years.
‘Partnering with this talented young Scottish artist is such a wonderful way to bring BenRiach’s flavour journey to life and we can’t wait to see Ellis’ creations on canvas.’