Glenallachie (Pronounced: glenALlakkee)
57°27'21.348 N, 3°13'39.1044 W
Aberlour, Benrinnes, Dailuaine, Macallan
Sources on Ben Rinnes mountain
2 Wash stills, 2 Spirit stills
3,200,000 litres of pure alcohol per year
Pernod Ricard > Chivas Brothers (since 1989)
Aberlour, Banffshire, NJ264412
Below, on Whiskyfun and on the Malt Maniacs Monitor
Scores & tasting notes:
1) Glenallachie is one of three distilleries built by William Delme Evans.
He also built the Isle of Jura and Tullibardine distilleries, founded in 1960 and 1949 respectively. Delme Evans owned part of those two distilleries (he was Managing Director at Jura) but this wasn't the case with Glenallachie.
2) The 'designer' of the Glenallachie distillery was Lothian Barclay.
3) Glenallachie distillery was closed and decommissioned in 1987, just 20 years after it was opened.
However, Pernod Ricard bought it in 1989, doubled the number of stills to four and restarted production.
4) The Glenallachie malt whisky is an important component of the 'Glen Campbell' and 'House of Lords' blends.
5) The 'quality spread' among bottlings of the Glenallachie single malt whisky is quite large.
They produced plenty of fairly unremarkable bottlings at the Glenallachie distillery, but a few of them (both young and old) reached scores in the upper 80's or even the lower 90's.
Glenallachie 35yo (46.9%, The Single Malts of Scotland Anniversary Selection, First fill sherry, 2010)
Nose: Rich, sweet and sweaty. Very expressive with fruits and organics struggling for dominance. Leather?
Lovely but tempered development over time. Smokey. Stylish and complex - but with a modest disposition.
Palate: Leather, tobacco and a fair dose of peat on the palate. No peat monster, but an 'antique' Speysider.
Score: 90 points - right up my alley. With stronger and chewier tannins it could have gone even higher.
When I sampled this in 2011, it was the very best bottling of Glenallachie I had ever tried.
Glenallachie 1981/2004 (55.9%, Scotch Single Malt Circle, Cask #600)
Nose: Ah! A subtle richness. Nicely balanced sherry with a hint of coffee.
The nose sweetens out with water. No other comments for this one this time...
Taste: Potent enough, with just the right amount of tannins for me. Salty.
Flattens out after adding water. No other comments for this one this time...
Score: 82 points - the nose shows lots of development; growing farmier with time.
Glenallachie 12yo 1992/2004 (43%, Signatory Vintage, Cask #453)
Nose: Appears quite young. A little grainy. Not too expressive - slightly farmy. Herbal & clean...
Taste: Touch of bitterness. Fairly flat and unimaginative. Decent enough but loses some points.
Score: 70 points - no obvious flaws but no highlights either. I've grown spoilt over the years...
Glenallachie 13yo 1989/2003 (60.8%, Cadenhead's, Bourbon Hogshead, July 2003, 318 Bottles)
Nose: Restrained in the start. Hint of burnt toffee. Fudge. Mellowing out. Suggestion of some organics.
Taste: Bittersweet oranges like Cointreau. Southern Comfort? Almost liqueurish. Big sweet fruity finish.
Score: 86 points - it manages to improve on an impressive start. Hard to believe it's a bourbon cask!
The nose moves to tangerine with time. I hesitated to add water. When I did I got some warm milk.
After a minute the water really takes effect - a true 'peacock's tail', like Serge would say. Great!
Glenallachie 31yo 1971/2002 (53.8% Douglas Laing Platinum, 219 Bts.)
Nose: Polished and woody, sweetening out. Some acetone aroma's too. Almost like a grain whisky.
It opens up though, growing more complex with whipped cream and other bakery aroma's besides wood.
Taste: Woody with less sweetness than I found in the nose. Cool. Great mouth feel, though...
This really needs at least 30 minutes. Perhaps some organics and even a trace of peat eventually.
Score: 86 points - although it was just a smidgen too woody for the upper 80's for most of the time.
Glenallachie 9yo 1991/2000 (43%, Signatory Vintage, Sherry Butt #1345, 902 Btl.)
Nose: Starts out restrained. Faint notes of fresh early fruits - mostly apples. Citrus?
Not a lot of 'sherried' notes. Quite MOTR, with more malty and nutty notes later on.
Just like the sample from Butt #1340 I tried in July 2002 it grows sweeter with time.
Taste: Soft, sweet and nutty start. Quite flat and nondescript. Dry, woody finish.
Score: 71 points - it's not bad but it could have done with some more character.
Glenallachie 8yo 1991/1999 (43%, Signatory Vintage, C#1340, Distilled 5/3/1991, Bottled 10/3/1999).
Nose: Soft. A little nondescript at first. Hints of oil & sour fruit. Sweet coffee?
Dried apples. Nuttier and maltier after a minute. It grows more powerful over time.
More sweet and spicy notes after fifteen minutes. Notable improvement!
Taste: Very smooth, put powerful as well. Honeyish sweetness. Big burn.
Long, dry finish. Really good; considerably better than the nose, IMHO.
Score: 78 points - four points more than an 11yo 1985/1997 SigVint I tried some time ago.
Is Glenallachie one of those malts that perform better at a young age?
Glenallachie 11yo 1985/1997 (43%, Signatory, Distilled 10/1985, Bottled 6/1997)
Nose: Very nice! Clearly Speyside; Complex with citrussy overtones at first.
More pepper later. Menthol after that. A lot of development.
Taste: Very smooth and slightly oily. Cold menthol or eucalyptus in the finish
Score: 74 points - interesting, but not very enjoyable. Loses points on the palate.
These were not all (official & independent) bottlings of Glenallachie Scotch whisky I've tried over the years.
Besides, these tasting notes only reflect my own, personal opinion; your tastes might be different from mine.
Fortunately, you can find the scores and tasting notes from up to two dozen other whisky lovers in the 'Malt Maniacs Monitor' - an independent whisky database with details on more than 15,000 different whiskies from Scotland and the rest of the world. Visit the Glenallachie page on the MMMonitor and select 'scorecard view' if you want to know how other whisky lovers felt about the dozens of Glenallachie expressions that were released in recent years. However, if you'd like to learn more about whisky in general (and single malt Scotch whisky in particular), you might want to check out the Beginner's Guide to Scotch whisky (10 chapters filled with everything you need to fully enjoy and appreciate a glass of single malt whisky) or the mAlmanac (sort of a rudimentary whisky shopping guide.)
- The very first official bottling of Glenallachie is launched; a 16 years old expression from 1989.
It is released at cask strength, which is fairly unusual for the only official bottling in the range. But then again, it doesn't seem like Glenallachie will ever develop a portfolio of OB's like its neighbours Aberlour or Macallan.
The rare Glenallachie OB is for sale at the Chivas Regal visitor centre at Strathisla distillery.
Pernod Ricard also increased the number of stills from two to
four when the rekindled the fires of Glenallachie. Apart from
the stills, Glenallachie used a semi-lauter mash tun and six
washbacks that are lined with stainless steel. Horizontal tube
condensers are used, as opposed to the regular vertical ones.
Wash stills are shaped like lanterns, the spirit stills like onions.
Single malt bottlings of Glenallachie are very rare
- and the vast majority of those were
produced by independent bottlers. After 'a decade of heavy dramming' the malt maniacs
had managed to find less than three dozen independent bottlings, most of them bottled
by Signatory Vintage. There have been less than half a dozen bottlings that have been
released by or through the owners, but those can hardly be considered official bottlings.
The Glenallachie distillery is relatively unknown, but with an
annual production capacity of 2,800,000 liters of pure alcohol
per year it's actually among the Top 30 whisky distilleries in
Scotland, production-wise. However, if my source was correct
they haven't used their stills at full capacity for some time;
they annually put out less than 2 million liters of whisky.
Most of the output of Glenallachie still goes into Chivas' own
blends like Clan Campbell, 100 Pipers, Highland Clan, House
of Lords, Passport, Queen Anne and - of course - Chivas Regal.
There have been two or three official bottlings over the years
(like the 12 years old from the 1980's depicted at the right).
The last time I checked the Malt Maniacs Monitor,
Cadenhead's had bottled only four expressions that we know of.
Nevertheless, it might be worth the effort because those expressions of
the Glenallachie single malt whisky were amongst the very best that were
ever released. Other expressions to hunt down are a 31 years old bottled
in 2002 by Douglas Laing and a bottling of Glenallachie single malt whisky
by the Scotch Single Malt Circle in 2004 - cask number 6000 to be precise.
Let's see - is there anything else worth sharing about Glenallachie?
Well, perhaps not about the single malt whisky bottlings; those are
exceptions. Glenallachie is one of those distilleries which were built to
produce 'industrial' malt whisky for use in blends like Clan Campbell.
However, Glenallachie has one feature that makes it interesting for
whisky lovers with a 'green' heart. The Scotch whisky industry is not
exactly environmentally friendly, but around 2009 Glenallachie made
a step in the right direction. A 'membrane bioreactor' was installed at
the distillery which enabled the distillery to release its waste water
into the nearby Lour Burn without significant negative effects on the
Scottish environment. By increasing the PH-value, the copper particles
have less of a negative effect according to the Malt Whisky Yearbook.
Glenallachie is one of the younger distilleries in Scotland. It was built
in 1967 (partly in 1968) by Mackinlay McPherson Ltd., a subsidiary of
Scottish & Newcastle Breweries Ltd. Glenallachie is located in a part
of Speyside that's especially rich in distilleries; Banffshire. You can
find the distillery just South of Aberlour at the foot of Ben Rinnes.
The Glenallachie distillery was bought by the Invergordon Distillers
Group in 1985, together with the Isle of Jura distillery. Invergordon
closed Glenallachie in 1987. Two years later the distillery was sold on
to Campbell Distillers, a subsidiary of industry giant Pernod Ricard.
They added Glenallachie to the 'Chivas Regal' part of their whisky
portfolio, which also includes brands like Aberlour and Glenlivet.
Is the distillery or