This is the first Glenallachie I’ve reviewed and it may well be the first Glenallachie I’ve tasted. It was bottled just over a year ago by the good people of Whiskybase to commemorate a milestone on the popular crowdsourced whisky database: their 110,000th entry. I don’t know much about the distillery and so have no expectations. The distillery is relatively young, as Scottish distilleries go—it was opened in 1967 and then mothballed for a few years in the 1980s. For most of its life it produced mostly for blends but under the recent new ownership its malt offering has expanded. That new ownership, as you probably know, includes Billy Walker, ex-owner of Glendronach and pioneer of single cask shenanigans. As to whether we can expect more of that from Glenallachie as well—or The GlenAllachie, as the new owners style it—I guess only time will tell. For now let me tell you what I found this to be like after I opened the bottle.
Glenallachie 22, 1995 (51.8%; Archives; hogshead #79; from my own bottle)
Nose: Lots of citrus (lime rind, lemon) plus white pepper and a mineral quality. On the second sniff there’s muskier fruit lurking under the top layer (pear?) and there’s a bitterness reminiscent of apple peels. Softer and sweeter with water: more pear, some vanilla.
Palate: Leads with the citrus and it’s brighter here at first. As I swallow the bitter rind and zest come swinging in and they bring a malty sweetness with it. Lovely texture at full strength. The citrus expands with each sip (and it’s more bitter now again than brighter). Okay, let’s see what water does. It pushes the bitterness back and pulls out more malt but the citrus is still to the fore.
Finish: Medium. The bitterness transitions from citrus peel to something more vegetal and the pepper from the nose returns as well. With time the bitterness eases. As on the palate with water.
Comments: This is very nice. Both fruity and austere. No fireworks but no flaws either (though I would have preferred a slightly less bitter finish, or at least a less vegetal bitterness). Not a very sexy profile but a very good one.
Rating: 87 points.