Glenallachie 10 Year Cask Strength Batch 3
Single Malt — Speyside , Scotland
Reviewed December 20, 2020 (edited November 18, 2021)
Note - I'm doing the Really Good Whisky Company Advent Calendar. I've also decided to pour these whiskeys "blind" (or at least as blind as I can), then providing nose, palate, and finish notes. I'll then look at the label, proof, cask type, etc. before writing my other notes. I'll be providing some guesses around things like proof and cask type and then seeing how much I missed the mark. Slàinte Mhath! Nose: On first blush I'm getting super bourbon-y vibes here. Beautiful, strong swirls of classic brown sugar, vanilla, and charred oak. Cherries, too. This feels really familiar. Nutmeg, allspice, clove... all the baking spices you'd want. I want to say this isn't finished, but there's some depth here that I'm waiting until the palate and finish. Proof feels like it's going to be in the 120ish range. Lightly roasted nuts, espresso, and leather. Some subtle citrus notes keeps this from feeling too heavy and dense, though that oak backbone is there helping to prop everything else up. I want to say this is a bourbon but there's a musty character that's poking out - almost grassy. This has to involve virgin oak, but no clue on the rest. Palate: This confirms my suspicions: this is not a bourbon. The palate opens with classic toasted cereal grains, deep honey, and almost burnt caramel. Intensely herbal and grassy. Dark fruits, baking spices, black pepper, as well as a thread of tannic, charred oak. Those dark fruits, nuts, and intense oak characteristics are throwing me for a loop. Definitely virgin oak here, but is there some kind of sherry as well? The musty profile rides through to the palate, but it's not new-make fruity funk. In my experience, that means this is at least 10 years. No bananas or similar "light" fruits, and I'm not getting dusty corn... certainly no rye. Single malt? But from where?? Can't be Texas because the oak profile doesn't match, plus it couldn't nearly that old. This is either a weird Highland or Speyside or from somewhere in the US wtih a mild climate. Though very intense, this is very well balanced with all the depth and richness you could want. Medium light mouthfeel, but some moderate oils. Finish: Big splash of toasted grain, caramel, oak, citrus oils, and mint. Ethanol, too. As things slowly calm down, there's a definite warming sensation with nutmeg, cinnamon, and dark fruits. Fresh cracked black pepper. Bitter lemons creep in, while that oak and char is just clinging. Long length finish. Other notes: This was, admittedly, a weird adventure that I deeply enjoyed. This is a 10 year cask strength Speyside at 58.2% - I got the age and proof while I had the right "feel" for region. I got the style, which surprised me. Casks were a crap shoot - this is a combo of ex-bourbon, virgin oak, as well as PX and Oloroso sherry. I got way closer than I thought I would here! I want to be clear - based on nose alone, this gave me solid high proof bourbon vibes. I immediately sighed and thought this had to be a decently aged cask strength Kentucky bourbon. But as I lived with it, I realized that this really is highlighting just how remarkably impactful casks are on the overall experience. The nose and palate differ in some very interesting ways, and while it's not completely disjointed, it's a little unexpected. I found this extremely enjoyable and a nice change of pace. This being a limited release bums me out a little since I'd love to find a bottle and live with it for a while and do some blind comparisons with some other cask strength offerings. GlenAllechie is doing some really interesting stuff (they even have a Rye!) and this tasting only confirms taht I need to start getting my hands on other expressions. Very well done.