The recent, and somewhat unexpected, flurry of peated Allt-a-Bhainne continues with this 7 year old bottling that’s been matured in a 2nd fill ex-bourbon barrel.
Nose: Apple pie, white grapes and gooseberries are joined by fireplace embers whilst buttered, golden scallops are served under a smoke-filled cloche. White chocolate shavings are joined by reed and flax whilst smoked mint tea is joined by a side order of crisp French fries. Reduction offers salted caramel and pronounced notes of pine and resinous, smoky mezcal together with green salad leaves and residue aromas of newly laid tarmac.
Taste: Expressive on the arrival with roasted red berries (strawberries and cranberries) assaulted by a wall of ashiness and BBQ briquettes. Burnt toffee and overdone honeycomb are joined by spent fire pit logs whilst smoked mascarpone cream sits caramel chews. Water reveals intense cask char, forest fires and icing sugar.
Finish: Long with persistent ash and pepperiness joined by lime peels and scorched oak.
A good value Allt-a-Bhainne that demonstrates that the peated spirit produced at this distillery could be well worth paying attention to once it has got a few more years under its belt. In this younger form, there’s plenty to enjoy already with the estery distillate tangibly presented and sitting nicely with some potent, but not overwrought ash-tinged smoke.