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Wednesday, August 10, 2022

White Heather 15 year old blended whisky

Nearly 40 years after the White Heather brand was discontinued, Billy Walker resurrected the name for his own range of blended whiskies. Why? I'm not sure. The packaging and website make no mention of the brand's previous (and respected) life, while the former White Heather's main malt of Aberlour has now been abandoned for Walker's own Glenallachie. But like any proper fluid, New White Heather has a Philosophy!

Walker was masterful during his own previous whisky life as the Master of Everything at the Benriach and Glendronach distilleries, but I remain unsold on his Glenallachie creations. New White Heather 15yo bears the same approach as the New Glenallachie releases: a cask salad with lots of dressing. Whisky from bourbon barrels, hogsheads and Spanish sherry butts are mixed and finished in PX and Oloroso puncheons and charred new American oak casks. I'm not even sure where to put the commas there.

On a positive note, there's (allegedly) a lot of malt in this 46%abv blend that has been bottled with neither coloration nor chill-filtration.

The box looks a little jet lagged
after its flight back from Portugal

Brand: White Heather
Ownership: Billy Walker's Imaginarium
Type: Scotch Blended Whisky
Mix: 47/53 malt/grain (allegedly)
Maturation: Bourbon barrels + Hoggies + Spanish sherry butts --then-- PX puncheons + Oloroso puncheons + charred new US oak
Age: minimum 15 years
Alcohol by Volume: 46%
Chillfiltered? No
e150a? No
(thank you, Dr. Springbank!)


Starting off fun and weird, the nose offers up leather, almond butter, cheese danish and a hint of farminess. But with time it shifts to cream soda, orange peel, pencil shavings and more and More and MORE OAK.

The palate has a surprisingly hot bite and lots of vanilla, caramel, mixed nuts, pencil shavings and Mt. Gay rum. Toasted oak gradually takes over.

More pencil shavings loom over the hot, peppery finish, followed by vanilla and caramel.


Islay and Highland malts are also supposed to live within this blend, but almost all I get here is cask juice, so it doesn't matter what its ingredients were. All that oak also negates the blending skill that the whisky world knows Billy Walker possesses. It results in a so-so drink that seems a year or two away from being wrecked by tannins. So I'll skip the 21 year old, thanks.

Availability - Specialty retailers in Europe
Pricing - $65 - $95
Rating - 79