Over to Allt-a-Bhainne for a well-aged example that’s been matured in an ex-bourbon hogshead for 23 years and bottled at 51.3% ABV. Given the distillery and its current lack of widespread fan, this one clocks in a good price for its age - £123 from The Whisky Exchange.
Nose: Opening quite delightfully with candied, floral notes of candy necklaces and old school bubble-gum before expressing additional fruitiness from mango and orange peels. Deeper, there’s a heart of rolled pastry and cinnamon buns that’s joined by sugar syrup and developing peach yoghurt. Water added – mandarins and nectarines sit with asides of allspice and well-stepped stone fruit teas.
Taste: Following a similar path to the nose – big juicy peachiness and honeydew melon slices sit alongside tarter apples. Weetabix and shredded cereals provide a malty core whilst metholated oak and well-judged pepperiness follow. Reduction reveals a different fruit complement that’s sharper and drier – kiwi, lychee and red plums together with well-oiled oak beams.
Finish: Medium in length and expressing resinous old oak together with pepperiness whilst the menthol transforms into mint leaf.
This bourbon hogshead has provided the Allt-a-Bhainne spirit with plenty of room to articulate its underlying character. Forget all of the recent peated (and often quite left-field) indy releases from this distillery – to my mind, the highly estery profile of this whisky shines at its brightest when unpeated and left to matured quietly in humble ex-bourbon. The result here is admirable – and easily my favourite release from the second batch of Watt Whisky bottlings.
But don't take our word for it..
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