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.
The third batch of Boutique-y Glenallachie offering is a larger vatting – which is certainly partly (but not wholly I don’t think) composed from sherry casks. 2,483 bottles of this 10 year old have been produced at an ABV of 49.9%. They’re currently available from Master of Malt for £61.95.
Whilst researching for this piece, I noted that a search for “Glenallachie 10 year old Batch 3” invariable finds the distillery’s own cask strength release (with the capitalised ‘A’) as opposed to Boutique-y’s indy offering. The official release – which I’m yet to try – I really should get some more current OB Glenallachie onto the site in 2021 - clocks in at around £52 here in the UK. So, you really are paying a notable premium for this to have been Boutique-y-fied. And similarly, you’re down 10% ABV on the ABV. This said, the two expressions are likely not completely comparable despite their similar names and ages – the OB is draw from a combination of 1st and 2nd fill ex-bourbon, PX, oloroso and virgin casks. Here I suspect that the Boutique-y version is likely less convoluted and more purist in its composition. Let’s dive in and find out…
Nose: A super welcoming combination of creamy fudge, butterscotch and toffee apples. Liquid dessert. This is joined by bran flakes, gingerbread men and a dollop of whipped cream, whilst cotton sheets and dried straw add depth. The addition of water offers a very similar overall composition, retaining all of the delectable sweetness whilst imbued touches of citrus at the edges.
Taste: Delivers on the promise. Spiced milk chocolate – a combination of both ground black pepper and a light sprinkle of Szechuan – is joined by nut brittle and caramel sauce. Fabric – almost sack cloth – sits in the back and is joined by asides of earthiness. It’s pleasingly not quite as sugary as the nose, but it still retains its high level of appeal. Reduction broadens things out offering overt plump sherry notes, orange sherbet and Cadbury’s Dairy Milk Fruit & Nut.
Finish: Medium with spice still forward – pepper, chilli and now a scattering of cinnamon. Tart underripe orchard fruits and chocolate powder fade into the distance.
The sherry influence of Boutique-y Whisky’s Glenallachie Batch 3 is exceedingly well-judged. It presents delectably (particularly on the nose, which I find to be pretty tremendous) and with equilibrium. But where the real interest lies here is with the spicing, which never feels either overwrought or unwelcome and proves to be an excellent sparring partner to the rich, toffee and caramel packed profile that runs throughout. Simply very tasty indeed.
I’m going to go out on a limb and suggest that I reckon Sorren will equally find this bottling to be notably enjoyable. Now you’ve read this far you can head over to OCD Whisky to find out.
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