Let’s keep the reviews of recent 23 yo K&L exclusives distilled in 1995 going. So far I’ve reviewed their Clynelish and their Glen Moray. I gave them the same score (87 points) but not the same “buy” rating (“yes” on the Glen Moray, “no” on the Clynelish). Today I have another ex-bourbon cask from an unassuming distillery. Will I finally have a different score? Let’s see.
Allt-A-Bhainne 23, 1995 (50.7%; Old Particular for K&L; refill hogshead; from a bottle split)
Nose: Very nice bourbon cask nose. Lemon mixed with malt and mild grassy notes; cooked tart apple and pastry crust behind. As it sits the apple expands and it smells more than a bit like a kitchen in which an apple pie was baked the evening before. Water emphasizes the malt and knocks back the fruit. Well, it knocks back the apple/pie: there’s more lemon now. Continue reading →
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) Continue reading →
I’ve noted on more than one occasion that I know nothing about certain distilleries, and I know I shouldn’t make a virtue out of ignorance, but of all the distilleries whose malts I’ve sat down to review I know least about Allt-A-Bhainne. Not only do I not know where it is located or how the name is pronounced but I have to keep checking to make sure I’m spelling it correctly. Well, it turns out it’s in the Speyside and is owned by Chivas Bros./Pernod Ricard, isn’t very old (founded in 1975) and, improbably, its name is pronounced exactly as it’s spelled. It produces for Chivas Bros.’ blends and I’m not sure if an official malt is even available.
This is also a 200 ml bottle from the Cadenhead’s shop in Edinburgh that was carted back for me by a friend last month along with the recently reviewed Tamdhu (and a couple of other things that’ll show up here next month). I gather it is from the set of recent small batch releases, some of which came to the US (though not this one) and a further subset of which I reviewed in early January. It was also recommended by the notorious Jolly Toper and so I expect it will be interesting at the least. Continue reading →