Many years ago when I visited GlenAllachie shortly after it was bought by Billy Walker, he mentioned acquiring the rights to two brand names. One was MacNair’s Lum Reek, a blended malt that has been on the market for a few years now. But he kept us waiting on the other one. Until now that is. Just recently the new White Heather 21 Years hit the market.
Considering all the attention GlenAllachie has asked and gotten from Walker, I understand it took him a while to finish his work on White Heather. But it probably also has something to do with patience and the necessary time needed to re-rack a couple of casks, as the recipe shows.
For the first 18 years White Heather matured in a combination of 1st fill American barrels, 2nd fill barrels and hogsheads and sherry butts. After these were married together by Billy Walker they were laid down in a selection of Pedro Ximénez puncheons, Oloroso puncheons and Appalachian virgin oak (medium toast/medium char).
White Heather 21 Years consists of a large portion of malt whisky (47%), which is divided in Highland malts (20%), Speyside malt (23%) and Islay malt (4%). Worldwide only 2000 bottles are available.
White Heather 21 Years (48%, OB, 2021)
Nose: A gentle, soft first impression with notes of orange liqueur, subtle oak shavings and a whisper of crisp green apple. There’s a touch of honeycomb and licorice, as well as some mint and dark caramel. Taste: Sweet yet rather an intense arrival. Some tannins as well as white pepper, followed by bitter oranges, Werther’s Original and molasses. Some earthy touches and a whisper of mint as well. Finish: Soft oak, lingering spices and a touch of honey.
Even though this blend has a high malt content, it reminds me more of a well-aged grain whisky. These kinds of whiskies can be enjoyable, but there’s also a limit to their complexity and depth. So, in short, the White Heather 21 Years is good, but probably not worth the price tag.