We’re steadily seeing more peated output from Allt-a-Bhainne – and barring the risible recently released OB, I’m pretty excited about that. This example, a mere 7 years of age and drawn from the 2nd fill ex-bourbon barrel.
Nose: Bright and fruit-forward at first – lemon curd and grapefruit. Wafting earthy inland peat smoke is perceptible, but playing a supporting role – burnt ferns, mosses and felt roofing, alongside pork meatiness and smoked gooseberries. Dilution brings out barnyard character – hay lofts, burnt ends and leafy green vegetables.
Taste: A much bigger palate than the nose implies – tart but expressive lemon peels and grapefruit segments with rocky minerality, salt and pepper seasoning and near-lactic farmyard – pig styles, wet hay and silage. Clays, puttys and oils add a sense of industrialness whilst burnt twigs and branches sit with floor cleaners and antiseptic creams. The addition of water focusses the smoke towards fireplaces and burnt logs, whilst adding nuance in the form of chopped almonds and icing-sugar coated lemon slices.
Finish: Medium to long with candyfloss sweetness paired off against salted lemons and fading iodine and ozone.
The nose on this Allt-a-Bhainne hides the power that the palate subsequently delivers. Nevertheless, both are well-balanced, focussed and thought-provoking, and never does the peat smoke intensity feel like its hiding any sins of the relatively youthful spirit. Recommended.