As soon as it was announced that the GlenAllachie 10 Years Cask Strength Batch 4 won Best Single Malt at the World Whiskies Awards, it sold out. Whatever was left in stores of Batch 3 also quickly flew of the (mostly virtual) shelves. Thankfully the new GlenAllachie 10 Years Cask Strength Batch 5 was launched almost immediately after the win of its predecessor. That was early April. It’s now very hard to find also. Ah, the trappings of success. And the makings of the modern whisky world.
The Cask Strength releases from The GlenAllachie are sort of the natural predecessors of the GlenDronach Cask Strength expressions. They too were originally created by Billy Walker. And considering the current craze surrounding the GlenAllachie (as well as the underwhelming latest batch of the GlenDronach Cask Strength), you’d be forgiven if you don’t quite remember how good these were. Because they were great value for money.
Sadly, those days are long gone. GlenDronach has fallen from its pedestal and connoisseurs of sherry-matured single malts are looking for a new king. Well, they’ve found one in The GlenAllachie. The love for Billy Walker’s latest venture is incredible. And even though I find some of their offerings a little too cask-dependent, I do get it. Because were else would you turn to in search of affordable, sherry-forward Scotch whisky? Tamdhu, Glengoyne, and Glenfarclas maybe. I might be forgetting some, but there aren’t many.
While that’s certainly a testament to the work that Billy Walker has done since acquiring GlenAllachie in 2017, it’s also condemning to the rest of the whisky industry. Walker is apparently able to source very good sherry casks. Why aren’t others as well?
Of course, it’s not just a matter of finding good casks. Billy Walker is also a very skillful, creative blender as he once again shows with the GlenAllachie 10 Years Cask Strength Batch 5. There are not only Pedro Ximénez and Oloroso puncheons in the mix, but virgin oak and Rioja casks also (just like in Batch 6). The result is… Well, let’s found out!
GlenAllachie 10 Years Cask Strength Batch 5 (55.9%, OB, 2021)
Nose: A high degree of balance with raisins, dates and chocolate truffles as well as pralines, but also gentle notes of apple peel and cherry candy canes. Faint notes of red berries and crème de cassis too. Extremely rich and enticing. The oak becomes more prominent after a while. Taste: Thick mouthfeel and a somewhat spicy arrival (black pepper, cloves, cinnamon) with a touch of resin and mint. Honey, sweet dates and brown sugar, as well treacle and some bitter coffee. Finish: Notes of nutmeg and mint, followed by cotton candy and fudge.
I'd rate this a notch below the GlenAllachie 10 Years Cask Strength Batch 4. Maybe a slightly more enticing nose, but also more oak influence on the palate. Overall another good value for money single malt.