Nov 042019
 

I’m continuing the rundown on GlenAllachie‘s core range (10CS, 12, 15, 18 and 25), with the new Wood Finish range. While I’m still missing the 10 Year Old Cask Strength, you can get a good idea of what the range is like.

This new range was created to show what the spirit can do vis-a-vis different finishing casks, and successfully shows this potential, although I have to admit to liking the regular range expressions better.

In the official press release, we’re told that Billy Walker hand-selected barrels from 50,000 casks in the 16 warehouses at the distillery near Aberlour for the additional maturation period. These casks were then coupled with casks sourced from an array of bodegas and distilleries that shared his “culture of careful wood management” and also from those who he had established relationships with during his career.

The PR goes on to quote Billy Walker saying “I’m incredibly excited to unveil this new range featuring GlenAllachie’s first-ever range of wood finishes. Wood management is something I’m very passionate about and we invest a substantial amount of time and money into sourcing exceptional casks from all around the world. I look for casks that will complement and enhance the GlenAllachie spirit, with the different woods making a greater, or sometimes subtle, influence, and taking us on a journey of new flavours.”

As for these specific expressions, Walker says “The rich golden Rye Quarter Cask delivers a hit of spice and cloves with classic GlenAllachie characteristics of honey and butterscotch, whereas the ruby red Port pipe has a sweeter and fruitier flavour, with honey, damson and rose hips.

“Finally the Pedro Ximénez, deep rich mahogany in colour, delivers what the eye promises; raisins, sultanas, toffee and dark chocolate.

“With this first release you can see the impact that a quality and carefully chosen cask can have on our whisky, from the amazing array of colours to the intensity of flavours in the final whisky.’’

After this detailed introduction by the owner, we can move on to my thoughts on these expressions:

GlenAllachie 8, Koval Rye Quarter Cask Wood Finish (48% ABV, NCF, NC)

Appearance: Light gold, thin legs off a sturdy necklace.

Nose: Spirity, with spiciness, cooked pears and lemon zest.

Palate: Citrus peel, pepper, a hint of pine and lemon.

Linger: Pepper and citrus bitterness, it’s pretty long, with spices down the gullet and some latent sweetness.

Conclusion

More than anything, this is a nice preview to the quality of the spirit.

 

 

 

 

GlenAllachie 10 Port Wood Finish (48% ABV, NCF, NC)

Appearance: Bronze with a rosy tinge. It leaves a lot of residue on the glass.

Nose: Blackcurrant, earthy notes, cinnamon, white pepper, hint of milk chocolate and a whiff of an old warehouse with a bit of mustiness and a touch of orange blossom.

Palate: Starts out a bit sour, with a red fruit coulis, pepper and a bit of wood spice.

Linger: Red fruit and pepper, dryness and a bit of citrus rind.

Conclusion

Better than the 8, but still more of a showcase whisky than something I’d like to drink regularly.

 

 

 

GlenAllachie 12 Pedro Ximenez Wood Finish (48% ABV, NCF, NC)

Appearance: Bronze with slow legs running off a pretty sturdy necklace.

Nose: Sweet and warm, with dried fruit, a hint of molasses and a dusting of cinnamon and nutmeg. This isn’t the syrupy PX, rather one that works with the spirit to round it out.

Palate: Dried fruit, cinnamon and clove, with a hint of dried dates and some tobacco leaf and dark chocolate.

Linger: Pepper and cinnamon over a dryness, with short bursts of sweetness coming through. There’s a spiciness and warmth in the gullet.

Conclusion

This is a decent sipper, with a lovely PX layer over the spirit. Unlike the 8, this is not young and not spirity, but the Port finish is probably a tad more interesting.

 

Overall Conclusion

These are fabulous for an evening exploring the distillery’s offering, and would be a great introduction to the core range. For my own collection, though, I’ll stick with the regular core range.

 

 

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Oct 202019
 

GlenAllachie 15 is the final release of the distillery’s core range. It follows the 10 Year Old Cask Strength, the 12 Year Old, the 18 Year Old and the 25 Year Old. I reviewed three of them earlier, except for the 10 Year Old.

Photo Credit: scotchwhisky.com

I’m now getting to the newly released 15 Year Old, which I got to taste at Whisky Live Paris 2019 which I recently attended.

Billy Walker and the 15 Year Old

I assume that the reason that the 15 wasn’t released together with the 10, 12 the 18 and the 25 is because this is supposed to be GlenAllachie’s answer to GlenDronach’s 15 year old revival. This seems to be mostly whisky finished in (very good) sherry casks, but not fully matured in them. Hence, I think it’s too early to start making such comparisons with any other brand, at least until the juice at GlenAllachie is either fully matured in sherry or has a lot longer to sit in the casks, but this detracts absolutely nothing from this dram. Judging this dram on its own, you’ll find a beautiful sherry bomb, with my only criticism being possibly the depth of the sherry influence on the palate.

This bottle is definitely one I’ll be buying!

Image result for glenallachie 15GlenAllachie 15 (46% ABV, NCF, NC)

Appearance: Copper, sturdy necklace with thick and viscous legs.

Nose: This is a true sherry bomb, with treacle and chocolate, leather and a hint of tobacco leaf. Dried peaches, apricots and figs over date honey, with cinnamon and a touch of clove.

Palate: Dried fruit and wood spices, some unripe fruit and sweet desert wine. There’s also a citrus rind bitterness which is delightful.

Linger: Tobacco leaf, cinnamon, hint of molasses and clove. There’s a lot of dryness, almost a little powdery. There’s a spicy ring around the gullet.

Conclusion

To me, this is the cornerstone of the core range.
This was clearly a finish, albeit in great sherry casks. I can’t wait to see what full sherry maturation of the 15 will bring out in the future. It’s important to note, though, that this future projection takes away nothing from the very high quality of this expression as is.

Jan 062019
 

The highest bottling in the new GlenAllachie core range is the 25 year old.

This is a pretty complex dram, yet despite being a lot more complex than the 18 year old, which I found somewhat pedestrian, this dram has a herbal note which isn’t to my liking.

Is it strange that my favorite whisky in the range is the 12 year old? I don’t think so. Moreover, this isn’t the only official bottling range in which I prefer a younger expression over an older one.

GlenAllachie Distillery by Whisky Cyclist

Photo Credit: whiskycyclist.com

Photo Credit: thewhiskyexchange.com

The GlenAllachie 25 (46% ABV, NCF, NC)

Appearance: Copper, rather quick legs leaving behind residue.

Nose: A bit of a sour green note giving way to a creamy maltiness, fresh fruit salad and honey dissolved in hot water. There’s a light green note, alongside a dry note.
The empty glass harks bake to the cereal notes that start it all…

Palate: Herbal notes, with a tad of rosemary, honey and a spicy dryness, fresh bread and yellow apple.

Linger: A bit herbal and peppery, with hints of cardamom. The gullet is very peppery, with more of the herbal notes. The linger is long on the gullet and rather sharp on the tongue.

Conclusion

More interesting than the 18, but I hope that those herbal notes get eradicated as the 25 year old vintages move up.

Nov 222018
 

GlenAllachie released a series of eight single casks for the UK market yesterday. The release ranges from three older releases: two 1989 casks (sherry and bourbon, the sherry is reviewed below), and a 1990 ex bourbon cask, to five tweens. There’s a 2005 ex bourbon barrel, an ex bourbon cask from 2006 (reviewed below) as well as a 2006 virgin oak barrel that I must admit has caught my interest. The collection is rounded out by a port pipe matured whisky from 2007 and a bourbon barrel from 2008.

This follows my review of the core range (except the 10 year old and the 25 year old, which will follow shortly). You can find those reviews here: 12, 18.

Photo Credit: GlenAllachie Distillery

 

GlenAllachie 2006, Ex Bourbon Cask 27979 (62.6% ABV, NCF, NC)

Appearance: Gold, slow legs with a lot of residue.

Nose: Almonds and minerals, stone fruit, some dry minerals, maybe stone dust, with a hint of acetone.

Palate: Citrus peels with some orange juice sweetness, pepper and hard sweet candy.

Linger: Pepper and sweetness, with fresh nectarine. Most of the linger is in the mouth rather than the gullet.

Conclusion

The cask sample I had was 62.6%, and the official bottling is 62.4%.

 

 

GlenAllachie 1989, Sherry Butt 10073 (60.3% ABV, NCF, NC)

Appearance: Bronze, slow and evenly spaced legs with droplets releasing slowly.

Nose: Leather and a hint of balsamic, dried fruit, dryness, wood spices and some oak tannins. Limestone dryness and a hint of leather, with green grapes.

Palate: Dried fruit sweetness, cinnamon and clove, dried orange peel, chocolate and coffee with milk. It has a dryness and a lot of character.

Linger: Spice down the gullet, some coffee and sweetness on the tongue. The linger is long and very pleasant.

Conclusion

This is a beautiful single cask. The GlenAllachie spirit takes on the sherry quite well, and has aged nicely. This is a beautiful dram. The limestone or minerality that’s the GlenAllachie signature works beautifully with the sherry cask. Here too, the bottling is 0.2% less, and clocks in at 60.1%, which I mention only to explain the discrepancy in the ABV.

Nov 052018
 

It took me some time to get around to publishing the rest of the series of the official bottlings of the distillery. You’ll recall that I very much liked the GlenAllachie 12.  I’m continuing the series with the GlenAllechie 18 year old, to be followed by the 25 year old and the 10 year old cask strength. Yes, I know that convention dictates running up the ladder by age, but in this case, I prefer working by ABV.

Like everybody else, my exposure to GlenAllachie was very limited before Billy Walker took over. Yes, we’ve tasted some indies, but we can now start talking about a distillery character, upon which I’ll elaborate later in this series.

Photo Credit: scotchwhisky.com

This expressions was, surprisingly, the least appealing of the quartet of whiskies released in the 2018 core range release. It’s comprised of whisky matured in ex bourbon, Pedro Ximénez and Oloroso sherry casks. When I say I don’t like it, don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with it, it’s just somewhat uninspired. Personally I’d go for a bottle of the 12 or 10 year old before this expression.

 

Photo Credit: thewhiskybarrel.com

The GlenAllechie 18 (46%)

Appearance: Amber, slow and thin legs.

Nose: Malt and red apples, wood spices with cinnamon and allspice and a hint of nutmeg. Honey, baking cookies at the neighbor’s, and a hint of something metalic.

Palate: Sweet with peppery with a little nuttiness. There’s some orange rind bitterness there too.

Linger: A tad peppery with a sweetness. There’s dryness in the mouth, but especially on the palate, with a certain spot that has this dryness. The gullet remains spicy for quite some time, as the linger in the mouth turns to raw black pepper before leaving a dryness.

Conclusion

The 18 year old is actually less interesting than the 12, which I thought to be a lovely entry level expression.