I’ve only had and reviewed one other Allt-a-Bhainne. I noted in that review that I knew nothing about Allt-a-Bhainne, not even how the name is pronounced. My knowledge has since increased just a little bit. I know now that it was only founded in 1975 and that the correct pronunciation of the name is closer to “autobahn” than you might expect. I do know, however, that I quite liked the other one. That was a 21 yo bottled by Cadenhead’s. This one is a 16 yo bottled by Berry Bros. & Rudd. Both are from bourbon casks selected by two highly reliable bottlers: that bodes well for this one as well. Let’s see if reality cooperates.
Allt-a-Bhainne 16, 1995 (53.4%; Berry Bros. & Rudd; cask #125284; from a sample received in a swap)
Nose: Lots of lemon with some musky, malty notes running through it and then notes of sweeter fruit (peach, berries). Quite vibrant. Soon it’s a lemon-driven fruit punch. Some dusty oak too with more time. Maltier and muskier with a few drops of water.
Palate: As promised by the nose but sweeter (apples) and maltier. Very nice mouthfeel. The lemon expands with every sip and there’s a grassiness too that works well here; and there’s a bit of cocoa powder mixed in with the malt. Okay, let’s see what water does. It makes it a little more gingery maybe, certainly much sharper.
Finish: Long. No new development: the apples and lemon and oak slowly dissipate and the last impression is of the malt. A little more muddled with water.
Comments: This is a very pleasant, fruity, malty whisky. Not much complexity and nothing very exciting about the fruit but it’s a solid whisky and I’d be very happy to have a full bottle on the shelf. Unfortunately, I don’t. I preferred it without water.
Rating: 85 points.
Thanks to Florin for the sample!