Whilst there is still some way to go, Glenallachie 10 year Batch 3 could well turn out to be my sleeper hit of the 2020 Boutique-y Whisky Advent calendar. That’s not to say that the distillery itself is in anyway under the radar, there’s a Facebook appreciation society page with over 1,400 members - and as the refashioned distillery celebrates its third anniversary it has already won over plenty with its quickly constructed, and often sherry influenced, core, limited edition and single cask ranges. All despite enjoying the most unappealing font in whisky.
Whilst the 2018 Spirit of Speyside Festival has been and gone, there’s still a few signs of its presence here – the roadside banners have yet to be removed, and many a bar person is looking like they need a short break to recover. There are also still a few of the Spirt of Speyside bottlings lurking at distillery shops and local retailers - the last drops of limited edition liquid awaiting those willing to take a punt on what is oft-times rather a stab in the dark at a single cask which may or may turn out to be notable.
When you construct a distillery from scratch, you have total rein over the spirit style and cask selection right from the get go – you might have to wait years to bear the fruits of those decisions, but there’s almost total freedom. Conversely, when you purchase a distillery (and likely inherit some stock), the style and profile, volume and breath of stocks you have to play with are all set. At least for the short term. Rest assured, a big part of the decision-making process for the purchase of Glenallachie in 2017 would have been the size, character and quality of its existing cask stock. Master Distiller Billy Walker seems happy enough with it – only a year later and the now ‘The GlenAllachie’ has just released its first core range of whiskies.
I bought this bottle based on a glowing review with a high score. And – spoiler alert – I don’t like it as much as that reviewer did. Sure, this whisky has an older age, a natural presentation, and was sold for a fair price. But Glenallachie isn’t a distillery I normally go out of my way for, so with no samples available, I would have left it on the shelf were it not for that review. I’ve been spoiled by getting into whisky in Edinburgh and now by living in London, which means I can often taste before I decide to buy. Most whisky drinkers aren’t so fortunate.
An unusually young finished whisky here – 5 years in an oloroso butt and then re-racked into a 2nd fill toasted oak butt for an additional 2 years. Baffling, but lets see…
With the recent release of the first official rebranded Glenallachies under Billy Walker’s rein, we thought we’d try the latest Society example. This example has spent 9 years maturing in an ex-oloroso butt. Spicy & Dry profile.
Over to Speyside for a 9 year old Glenallachie that’s been matured in a 1st fill ex-bourbon barrel. View on SMWS
The previous Society Glenallachie released last summer focussed on 1st fill sherry (107.24 Oven-ready Moomin) – here we’re keeping it simple with a 9 year old 1st fill ex-bourbon barrel at a notably high bottling strength.
Distilled in April of 2007 this Glenallachie has spent 10 years maturing in a 1st fill ex-bourbon barrel. Young & Spritely Profile.