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.
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.
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.
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.
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.