Here’s Why Glenallachie Is The Connoisseur’s Choice To Savour And Enjoy

Today, the Speyside distillery of Glenallachie is a passion project. It was originally founded in 1967, but when not mothballed, it was primarily producing whisky meant for blending. It began making a name for itself after Billy Walker, an industry veteran and the former mastermind behind Glendronach, Benriach and Glengassaugh, acquired Glenallachie in 2017. The following year, the distillery began producing award-winning single malts, picking-up a handful of prizes at the inaugural 2019 Scottish Whisky Awards (including Distillery of the Year), while Batch 4 of its 10-year-old Cask Strength won the World’s Best Single Malt at the 2021 World Whiskies Awards.

With a personality like Billy Walker behind it, the Glenallachie is an independent that appeals to connoisseurs thanks to its adventurous experimentation with casks. “The thing we do at Glenallachie is focus heavily on cask management, putting the spirit into the best quality wood possible,” says Ronan Currie, who studies the art of blending under Walker when not fulfilling his duties as Sales Director. “It is not a certainty what will come out the other end. But that reduces the likeliness of a poor spirit coming out.” The Glenallachie uses only first- and second-fill casks to maximise flavour potential.

For the likes of sherry casks, it works with bodegas in Spain, but a lot also comes from Speyside Cooperage, an established player in Scotland. “They’re probably the biggest cooperage within Scotland, and they provide some really high-quality casks,” Currie says, noting its ability to source the unusual. “They know what we’re looking for, and that we’re open to trying the weird and wonderful stuff.”

One such weird and wonderful product stems from something surprisingly close to home: Glenallachie’s 15 Year Old Scottish Oak expression. “Scottish oak trees are not really used in the industry at all,” Currie says. “The trees grow at an angle, they’re not very straight, they’re quite short; the wood is knotted and tight – it’s really poor-quality wood. But there’s one man at Speyside Cooperage who’s able to work the wood. He has to cut it all by hand.” The whisky spends two to three years finishing in Scottish Oak. “It’s a real porous wood. You wouldn’t be able to mature whisky for a long time in Scottish oak. You’d have none left if you let it sit for ten years! So it’s a great secondary maturation cask,” Currie explains. “It’s a phenomenal whisky. Quite lemony – you get a nice sort of citrus freshness from Scottish oak, we find.” Bottled at 48 per cent ABV, the 15 Year Old Scottish Oak also retains the strong Glenallachie undercurrent of honey, syrup and butterscotch.


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