Allt-á-Bhainne 21 Years Old, 1991 – Cask Strength Collection (Signatory)

Cask 09114, 55% ABV, £60 for 70cl

Score: 72/100

What MoM say:

A rich and tasty Speyside whisky from Signatory’s Cask Strength Collection, this was distilled at Allt-á-Bhainne on the 9th July 1991 before a 21 year maturation in a single cask (number 90114).

Tasting Note by The Chaps at Master of Malt

Nose: Tropical fruit and sweet cereals. Hints of aniseed and bitter oak. Seville orange marmalade.

Palate: Green herbs and sherried peels. Notes of cooked fruit and orange juice. Intense with fruit and rather zesty too. Apricot.

Finish: Long, peppery finish. Orange zest.

P1050667

What I say:

Purchased via Master of Malt, this 3cl Drinks by the Dram sample cost £5.51, not bad for a 21 year old cask strength whisky from a reasonably hard to find distillery. Allt-á-Bhainne was built in 1975 by Chivas Brothers to produce malt whisky for blending, it was taken over by Pernod Ricard in 2001 and production ceased between 2002 and 2005. There have been no official bottlings from the Allt-á-Bhainne distillery as yet, but a reasonable number have appeared from independent bottlers, such as this Signatory example.

Colour:

Straw Gold

Nose:

Yeasty, sweet ketone and estery overripe banana, pineapple cube sweets, new [Dulux] paint smell, barley malt, green apples, distillery washback/fermentation smell and wood

Taste:

Passion fruit, sweet and acidic, mango, light fruit syrup, then a cayenne pepper spice builds and eventually mellows before woody flavours come in. Initially this has thin mouthfeel but it gains a syrupy oily texture with time

Finish:

The finish is sour and a little bitter with a rather unusual strong root vegetable aftertaste like turnip or swede, of medium length there are also grassy, vegetal and lemongrass elements in the finish

Would I buy it again:

We assumed this was matured in a refill bourbon barrel as at 21 Years Old this whisky still had a lot of flavours and aromas that we associated with the distillery and thus the distillate itself. I would be interested to try further Allt-A-Bhainne expressions to determine how much of this whisky is composed of the signature malt distillate elements [though there was not a lot in here I could ascribe to barrel-maturation?]. On the palate there were some promising tropical fruit flavours indicative of the Speyside malts, sadly the finish on this one let it down a little.