...where distraction is the main attraction.

Monday, November 8, 2021

Glenallachie 10 year old Cask Strength, Batch 5

I reviewed the first batch of Billy Walker's Glenallachie 10 year old Cask Strength in April 2019, and was very disappointed by the out-of-balance aggression of that whisky's new oak element. Two-and-a-half years later, the series is already on batch six, so I was probably alone regarding that issue.

A sample of Batch Five was given to me back when it was the new hotness this spring. (No, your spectacles aren't dirty, I am indeed reviewing a 2021 release.) Walker's team added Rioja casks during this whisky's assembly. If you're keeping score, here are the casks for batch five: Pedro Ximenez, Oloroso, new oak, and Rioja. Yep, that must have been some fine spirit he purchased from Pernod Ricard.

Distillery: Glenallachie
Ownership: The GlenAllachie Distillers Company Ltd
Region: Speyside (Aberlour)
Age: minimum 10 years old
Maturation: Pedro Ximenez, Oloroso, virgin oak, and Rioja casks
Outturn: 27,000 bottles
Bottled: March 2021
Alcohol by Volume: 55.9%
Chillfiltered: No
Colorant added: No
(thank you to Dr. Springbank for the sample!)


It has a crisp fruity nose, with cherry syrup, dried cherries and orange peel on top with a current of hot fudge, cola, toffee and eucalyptus underneath. Once the whisky is reduced to 46%abv, the nose brightens up and adds notes of dried apricots, peach candies and saline.

The palate is sweet, woody, winey and figgy. Bits of tobacco leaf and coffee grounds linger in the background. It also has a very thick mouthfeel which loosens up once the whisky is diluted to 46%abv. More sugar, more eucalyptus and more sticky new oak notes appear, with hints of baking spice and winey tannins in the back.

It finishes bitter and very sweet with dried currants, an oaky custard, coffee and eucalyptus. It picks up more wine and tannins at 46%abv.


When trying to chase down bottles of a four-wood whisky, one is probably not terribly interested in the actual malt part of the equation. Instead the buyer is likely interested in cask jockeying. I can attempt to address the cask situation since this whisky could have come from any of several dozen distilleries inside or outside Scotland.

I don't mind the wine casks that much. They were incorporated better than most of McEwan's inventions (which ain't saying much), and the nose was a lot of fun with or without water. In fact, I think the Rioja gave batch #5 the edge over #1.

What kept this from ascending to classic sherry bomb status was all that damned new oak again. The virgin oak distracted from the rest of the scene, like every time Alfred Hitchcock showed up in one of his films, but only if Hitch had been a 250-pound puss-leaking infected sore.

Yeah, I dislike new oak that much. If you don't, then drink up that oaky custard!

Availability - Europe and the secondary market
Pricing - €100 and up
Rating - 79 (could have been 5-10 points high without the new oak casks)