Whisky Review: Glenallachie Distillery Edition
Category: Speyside single malt Scotch Whisky
Origin: Glenallachie Distillery
Bottling: Pernod Ricard, Chivas Brothers
Cost: £29.95 buy from Master of Malt
What they say:
The Glenallachie Distillery Edition gives some of the spotlight on its label to the Ben Rinnes mountain. Sitting at the foot of the mountain, Glenallachie uses water that comes from a spring 3,000ft up Ben Rinnes’ north-east face.
What I say:
It isn’t often that an established distillery launches their first official bottling onto the market, signs that either the industry is booming or that distilleries fortunes are changing. I snapped up this bottle as soon as it appeared, not realising that it would be gracing local supermarket shelves. Glenallachie is the home of the Clan Campbell blend and a sizeable constituent in White Heather blend. Despite this adventurous foray into the OB single malt market with this no-age statement ‘Distillery Edition’ expression it was only a matter of weeks before the sale of Glenallachie Distillery to a consortium headed by Billy Walker was announced. Famed whisky maker, Walker had recently driven The Benriach Distilling Company’s 3 Speyside gems BenRiach, GlenDronach and Glenglassaugh into the spotlight (although the latter still needed a little polishing IMHO), before selling them to Brown-Forman. A lot of excitement now focusses on Glenallachie in Walker’s hands with perhaps batches of single cask releases (a la BenRiach & GlenDronach style) imminent? Who knows what the future may hold, however while it lasts I grabbed this ‘DE’ as a perfect example of a standard Glenallachie expression for analysis.
Amber gold (9/10), slow-forming medium tears and numerous medium legs resolve.
Floury and sweet, like making and baking sweet pastries, distinct honey notes and barley sugars, floral, caramel, light toffee, a little citrus mixture of lemon and grapefruit – but sweetened and biscuit malt.
Creamy highland toffee, malty cereal barley, hints of citrus fruits, quite crisp and a hint of something mineralic, possibly reflecting their pure spring water? Vanilla, woody oak, honey and cereal flapjacks.
Medium, toffee, fruit, oak and vanilla
Well structured, I liked the crisp, malt, biscuit and minerality to it that prevents the honey sweetness from becoming cloying. I heard the majority spirit at Glenallachie is filled into refill American oak ex-bourbon barrels and nothing I tasted here refutes that claim. Making me wonder where Walker is going to get his batches from until a fellow aficionado pointed out that ~20 year old Indie Glenallachie matured in sherry casks really is the business. Worth a bottle for both educational purposes and also downright enjoyable dramming. Fingers crossed something special this way comes from Billy and his team.
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