Water of Life – GlenAllachie
I am all about Islay and its distilleries when it comes to whiskies that excite me, which is not to say that I am unable to appreciate and enjoy drops from other regions for their own idiosyncratic flavours and merits.
Speyside is an interesting region as quite a few of the “Glen- “whiskies have established themselves as go-tos, specifically when it comes to travel in Asia. I have come to enjoy the two ends of the spectrum that most of them are situated in, i.e. the richer and sweeter one that is informed by an underlying sherry character and the lighter ones that feel like you can indulge in them at all hours of the day.
One of the more interesting varieties of Speyside whiskies is emerging from a relatively young distillery that goes by the name of GlenAllachie.
Using local water and deliberately limiting and slowing down their production to ensure that allow for a longer zymosis, it enables GlenAllachie to pay utmost attention to finetune each step of the distilling process and alter the depth of the character of their emissions, in layman’s terms: GlenAllachie refuses to take shortcuts and takes pride in their status of being one of the Scottish distilleries that have not been absorbed by a bigger multi-national conglomerate.
My first exposure to GlenAllachie was their robust and fun 10-Year-Old Cask Strength expression. Being non-coloured and matured in what reads like a dream line-up of casks, i.e., Pedro Ximénez, Oloroso as well as fresh casks from the new world and bottled at a whopping 57.1% ABV, the spiciness that tickles the nostrils was intriguing as after a peak it blends in with charred vanilla.
“Pleasant” would be an understatement when it comes to what materializes on the top of the mouth as marmalade, honey is married with light chocolate and by adding a drop or two of water, nutmeg makes an entry, but it finishes with oak and more intense honey notes.
As one would expect, their 12-year-old single malt Scotch whisky from GlenAllachie takes things up a few notches: Imagine the 10-Year-Old on steroids, i.e. bigger, bolder flavours with the nose already promising what will then serenade the palate: Buttery vanilla, almond and an elongated soft and oily finish that borderline touches milkshake territory, based on a bed of tropical flavours.
So far, so good.
Now enter the GlenAllachie 18-Year-Old and its nose heave on the cinnamon will win you over instantaneously. There is also something tarty to it, which adds intrigue that is given additional layers on your receptors with highlighted barley, sultana and peanut butter nuances.
The 18-Year-Old is one that drives my much better half crazy as it delays my replies in conversations endlessly because I tend to swirl around each sip forever before letting it go down the hatch.
Caramelised stone fruits meet a dairy finish that gives this one a rounded, complete feel that covers and ticks all the boxes of a well-chosen flavour territory.
This one does not need to show off with overwhelming flavour nuances – it is sophisticated and the crown of the GlenAllachie portfolio.
photo from company website
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