Allt-A-Bhainne 23 Years Old WhiskyNerds Cask 102589 52.4% 1997
€ 181,50 (in. BTW)
Words Of Whisky:
Nose: Sweet, menthol and chalky makes for an interesting combination. I get red apple skin, apfelstrudel and a whiff of nectarine. A touch of honey too, as well as sweethearts (the candy) and even some breakfast tea. Very pleasant.
Taste: An oily mouthfeel, followed by a slightly spicy arrival (white pepper mainly). Fairly fruity, but not overtly so. A hint of peach and nectarine, as well as clementines. Touches of polished oak too, underpinned by gingerbread.
Finish: Medium. Sweet barley water and a light fruitiness.
A hell of a gamble by the WhiskyNerds. But this Allt-a-Bhainne 1997 is a good and unexpected whisky nonetheless. Now, whether you’re willing to pay the retail price is another matter entirely.
Serge Valentin (87)
A barrel this time as opposed to a hogshead, should we expect greater wood influence? Colour: deep gold. Nose: indeed, more polish, sandalwood, pine resin, workshops, oily rags and a bit more of a peppery and camphor edge up front. With water: some more opulent fruit qualities now, green fruits and fruit salad juices along with more familiar acrylic and clay notes. Mouth: it's very similar in structure in that you feel, underneath, it's the barley that dominates rather than the fruits. Here though, you have a lot more oak influence, but it is clean and spicy with some preserved and crystallised fruits, wood saps and putty. Some brown bread too. Very good. With water: firm spices, saps, resins, oils, some rather herbal qualities now too. More mineral oils and camphor. Finish: medium, sappy, spicy, sweeter, some golden syrup and spiced oatmeal flapjack. Comments: The cask did a lot of heavy lifting here, but then I suspect Allt-A-Bhainne is the kind of distillate that likes a bit of hot stave action. The key here is that the wood was clean and rather bright. Kate and Mark, I'll send you a certificate to confirm that you had bottled my favourite ever Allt-A-Bhainne for at least 10 minutes.
Allt-á-Bhainne is not an obvious choice, I’ve only ever tried one that reached a score above 80 (and most other reviews don’t even share my opinion). So there, I can already predict the WhiskyNerds may have found the best whisky from this distillery – ever.
They selected a 23 years old Allt-a-Bhainne 1997, bottled from a barrel.
Nose: fairly sweet, mainly on yellow apples and stewed rhubarb, with vanilla pastry and apricot tartlets in the background. Citrus peel. There’s a firm oaky side, the polished kind with beeeswax and light pepper. Dried yellow flowers. Minty notes, as well as a wee earthy touch underneath. The waxy roundness makes it pleasantly old-style.
Mouth: moderately fruity again, say peaches and orange peels, gooseberries, later also grapefruit. Slightly floral barley with hints of candied ginger. Sweet oak and hints of fruit tea. This is no wham-bam whisky, it’s highly integrated and you need to make an effort to get past the barley notes.
Finish: medium, with malty notes, orchard fruits and a hint of green tea.
A refined, attractive nose, which wouldn’t be out of place on a 30+ year-old. On the palate I find it slightly more ‘average’. All fine but it doesn’t have the same sparkle as their Speyside 1994 in my opinion.