Allt-a-Bhainne 1995/2012 C&S Dram Collection
I’ve never had a whisky from All-a-Bhainne before, even though this is a distillery that produces 4 million liters of pure alcohol per year. That is a lot! But most of it ends up in the Chivas Regal blends. That was actually why it was build in 1975, to produce blend fodder. There has never been a single malt distillery bottling, but there have been some (not many) single casks from indie bottlers. The reputation of All-a-Bhainne is not very good, and that is putting it mildly. Let’s see if this one is any good.
Allt-a-Bhainne 1995/2012 (52,1%, C&S Dram Collection, C#125286, 279 bts.)
Nose: Very light and clean with citrus, melon and green fruits. Lots of vanilla and a nice mellow sweetness. With water that sweetness profiles itself a bit more in the form of caramel.
Taste: Slightly dry, gingery and also a fiery quality. That subdues after a while and makes place for grains, breakfast cereal and citrus (lemon). Then the spices take over. Cumin, cloves, allspice. The palate is nice enough, but does have an overall bitterness.
Finish: More bitterness, a hint of smoke, more spices and some lemon. Medium in length.
A light and clean whisky but with a fiery kick and an omnipresent bitterness. Certainly not for everybody I think, but I quite liked it. This used to cost less than 60 euro’s, but more than two years after it’s release is obviously nowhere to be found anymore.
Thijs is a spirits writer and accredited liquorist from The Netherlands. He runs the blog Words of Whisky and contributes to a number of Dutch and international publications.