Let’s make it a week of age-stated, official releases from three different parts of Scotland. From Campbeltown on Monday, let’s move to the Speyside. Like the Kilkerran 16, the Glenallachie 15 is a relatively recent entrant into the market. As far as I can make out, it was first released in 2019, with more releases in the years following. Like the Glenallachie 12 (which I quite liked), this is a sherry cask whisky. Unlike the 12 yo, which has virgin oak cask matured spirit in the mix, the 15 yo is vatted entirely from PX and oloroso casks. Once again, I don’t know which year’s release my sample came from. But in this case it may not matter very much. This because there is apparently a lot of batch variation in these releases from the same years; and so the year of release by itself would not mean very much. In other words, here’s yet another completely useless review. You’re welcome.
Glenallachie 15 (46%; from a bottle split)
Nose: Rich sherry with raisins, dried orange peel and sweet, slightly burned caramel. As it sits there’s a slight herbal note (sage) and a bit of sour oak—nothing very off-putting though and the sweeter, richer sherried notes are still in the lead. With more time the citrus gets brighter—between lemon and orange—and the oak recedes. A few drops of water push the citrus back and pull out red fruit here as well
Palate: Comes in with the oak leading the way—it’s not tannic but there’s still too much of it. Decent texture and bite at 46%. As it sits the oak calms down a bit and some red fruit emerges. The fruit gets brighter here too with time. Okay, let’s see what water does for it. Nothing very good, I’m afraid. It gets more sour at first and then more bitter heading into the finish.
Finish: Long. The oak transitions to a menthol coolness. As it fades there’s some of that orange peel and then a hint of chocolate. Develops as on the palate but the oak is still quite present here, turning a bit bitter as it goes. With time and water the orange peel and chocolate fade.
Comments: At first sniff I thought this was going to be rather good; but it didn’t quite pan out that way. Too much oak impact on the palate and finish for my liking—but not so much that I would call it a flawed whisky per se. Nothing I’d ever turn down a pour of but also nothing I need a bottle of.
Rating: 83 points.