Taste Review #16 – GlenAllachie 12
The Glenallachie distillery is a relatively well kept secret on Speyside. Or should I say was a well kept secret on Speyside, as given its new owner, I’d be surprised if this distillery stays on the down-low.
Glenallachie is the anglicised version of the Scots Gaelic ‘Gleann Aileachaidh’ which means ‘Valley of The Rocky Place’. Sitting in the shadow of Ben Rinnes and its granite torrs, the snow meltwater from this hill is what is used to feed the production of this whisky, so the name is quite fitting!
This is a relatively new distillery, given its neighbours in a wee pocket to the south of Aberlour – Dailuaine, Benrinnes, Aberlour and the former Imperial distillery, which is now the new kid on the block – Dalmunach. Glenallachie was built in 1967, and was last in the hands of Pernod Ricard for supplying malt whisky for blending. This was until the purchase in 2017 by the GlenAllachie Distillery Company, a trio of business people who include renowned distiller Billy Walker. Those familiar with the world of Scotch whisky should have no need of an introduction of Mr Walker, formerly part of a business partnership which owned BenRiach, GlenDronach and Glenglassaugh distilleries. These were sold in 2016 to Brown-Foreman, the parent company of Jack Daniels.
The current core range is of 10, 12, 18 and 25 year old bottlings. So let’s move onto the taste review of this single malt.
Slightly dulled brass
Sweet. I did no research before this taste review, and just in smell alone I got the sherried notes. Rich smelling, cooked dried fruits, vanilla, hint of banana. On the first couple of sniffs I also detected grass (of the non-herbal variety)
Oily. Initial tingle of spirit opens up to woody, spicy notes. Slightly bitter caramel, light honey, almonds at times, perhaps marzipan.
Medium long finish. Once the tingle had died away, there is a chocolate mocha flavour that is very pleasant. Nutty and woody to start with. Light brown sugar notes.
The headline for this article couldn’t be any more appropriate. Thinking to the Primal Scream hit record of the same name, there was a definite rocking party going on in the nosing of the dram. So much wonderful aromas there truly was a smell sensation going on.
I was very excited to taste it. Just by the smell you could tell it was a sherried whisky, but this particular malt uses Oloroso, PX and virgin oak casks, and the mix comes out in the taste and smell very distinctly.
The taste? Very good whisky with a definite spirit kick. However for me a bit of a let down on the aroma. I’m not saying I didn’t like it, but I didn’t get as many flavour notes as I did aroma notes. There is a boost at the end, and that was the clear mocha note at the very end of the finish. It hung around on my tastebuds for quite a while.
What gets this whisky a bigger thumbs up is the fact it is naturally presented with no chill filtering or colour adding shenanigans going on. And at 46%, a single teaspoon of water was just enough to smooth it out.
The even better thing about this whisky is that a 70CL bottle can be had for £38.90 at Master Of Malt. Or try your friendly local whisky shop. They may be a little more expensive but there are opportunities for samples and friendly chat. My sample was bought at the Whisky Shop in Dufftown and cost £5.10.
Despite the slight disappointment of the taste versus the nose is still one of my contenders for the best sampling I have reviewed this year. Maybe a bit on the pricey side for a twelve year old, but remember my friends; we are in the pursuit of quality, and this bottle has it. The price point is justified in my opinion.
Given that this was rarely seen as a single malt unless via a small release from an independent bottler, and also that the last official bottle from the Pernod Ricard ownership was a NAS release at 40%, then seeing the quality now released means good things may come from GlenAllachie.
Although I don’t score my whiskies, this would be a 9/10 all day long.
You can now visit the GlenAllachie distillery. Visit theglenallachie.com for more information. They are open Monday – Friday, 10am to 4pm.
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