GlenAllachie Double Sherry 2013 Vintage
January 2024

GlenAllachie Double Sherry 2013 Vintage

What do you get when you wrangle the best barrels from the distillery with the highest cask budget in the world, from a standout vintage, crafted by arguably the world’s greatest Master Distiller? The epitome of Sherry-matured sophistication, that’s what.

United Kingdom

Colour Intense mahogany

Nose Bursting with heather honey, molasses and brandy snaps, with notes of mocha, raisin and baking spices.

Palate Lashings of dark chocolate, raisins and heather honey, followed by toasted almonds, candied ginger and gooey toffee.

Finish Velvety and indulgent. Dense butterscotch, dried figs and hints of glazed cherry.

Food Match Stuffed mushrooms topped with cheese and a side of salt seasoned greens. Dried fruit compote for dessert.

Overview

We’re starting off 2024 with a classic Sherried Scotch from the distillers' distiller – the one and only – Billy Walker!

You may know Billy Walker as the man who made GlenDronach the distillery to beat when it comes to Sherry cask maturation. Then in 2017 Billy started his own passion project, snapping up GlenAllachie and its 50 years of history.

With his characteristic uncompromising approach, Billy boldly slowed down production of The GlenAllachie distillery to less than 20% of capacity.

With 50 years of experience under his own belt, Whisky Hall of Famer Billy knows a thing or two about driving quality – and it starts by allowing enough time.

In Billy’s words: “We don’t pursue absolute consistency. We pursue absolute perfection.”

Billy personally draws every sample, marries every cask, and shepherds the release from concept through to final bottling.

It’s the key reason that The GlenAllachie 10-year-old Batch 4 was named the World’s Best Single Malt in March 2021.

But GlenAllachie doesn’t often do vintages. It speaks of impressive quality across the board when a distillery puts out a vintage release. GlenAllachie generally save these for their single casks and their premium cuvée cask finish program – four of these have been released so far, at double the price of their standard releases.

GlenAllachie boast the highest budget per barrel in the entire industry – with an annual wood budget of over £2 million – and Billy is renowned for his unparalleled approach to wood management.

And The Whisky Club got so many of the good ones here. The pure quality of the casks from this vintage is outstanding.

As Billy says: “We’ve sourced first fill Oloroso and Pedro Ximénez puncheons of the highest quality from boutique producers in Jerez, Spain to elevate The GlenAllachie spirit to its optimum. With a bold, honey-forward house style, our distillate stands up well to ageing in richly seasoned Sherry wood.“

Anticipate indulgent waves of heather honey, molasses and brandy snaps, along with lashings of dark chocolate and gooey toffee from this remarkably complex Speyside single malt.

“This incredible Limited Edition for The Whisky Club is the epitome of Sherry-matured sophistication," says Billy.

And so it is. Billy’s made something special for the Sherry bomb lovers – the GlenDronach fanatics and the Glenfarclas tragics.

For this money, we haven’t seen a better expression of everything that GlenAllachie embodies.

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THE SPECS

Price: $140.00

Age: 2013 Vintage

ABV: 48%

Maturation: Pedro Ximénez and Oloroso Sherry Finish

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GlenAllachie's History

Glenallachie was constructed in 1967 on the back of the 1960s US whisky boom. MacKinley McPherson – Scottish & Newcastle Breweries’ distilling arm – who were keen to make the most of said boom, charged William Delmé-Evans (the man behind Macduff, Tullibardine and Jura) with the task of designing the new distillery. Almost fully gravity-fed, the distillery was designed with efficient energy use in mind. The first spirit flowed through the stills in February 1968, and within six months, the two still setup got an upgrade to four.

For the first 50 years of its existence, GlenAllachie was a respectable workhorse distillery, spending the majority of its production life under the stewardship of Pernod Ricard who used the spirit in world famous brands such as White Heather, 100 Pipers, Passport, and of course, Chivas Regal.

It was business as usual at Glenallachie until Invergordon Distillers’ takeover of MacKinley’s in 1985, at which point the distillery was mothballed and eventually sold to Campbell Distillers, now part of Pernod Ricard, in 1989. Thankfully, production restarted on April 24, the date marking the start of some 29 years of uninterrupted production during which time the distillery became the heart of Clan Campbell Whisky, the No. 1 premium Scotch whisky in France. 

With a thumping output capacity of 4 million litres and holding warehouses capable of more than 60,000 casks, it’s perhaps baffling why we saw so little of this Speysider released as single malt other than the odd coveted independent bottling and a 15 year old official bottling released in 2005 as part of Chivas Brothers’ Cask Edition Series, matured in sherry casks and from some of the first spirit distilled after reopening. 

This was set to change, and change in a big way. Enter the legendary Master Distiller and Blender Billy Walker, and his whopping whisky heritage. In July 2017, Chivas Brothers sold Glenallachie to The GlenAllachie Distillers Company, a new consortium consisting of Billy Walker of Benriach and GlenDronach fame, ex-Inver House Distillers MD Graham Stevenson and Trisha Savage. Just like he did with BenRiach and GlenDronach, Walker added some CamelCase to the name (i.e. Glenallachie became GlenAllachie), but that was just the beginning of the changes in store. 

GlenAllachie was soon refurbished and relaunched, with an aim to be a ‘truly independent, Scottish-owned and managed’ whisky company, producing a big, fruity malt whisky. Six single cask bottlings made an appearance in April 2018 and were soon followed by GlenAllachie’s first ever core range of single malts in June of that year.  

A lot has changed in a short period at The GlenAllachie. Two new warehouses have been added, they’ve grown from seven to 21 employees, and a visitor centre was opened in 2019. Most notable is the release of a dedicated range of core expressions along with some seriously good single cask releases and wood finishes. A position of restraint and single malt dedication now is the program at GlenAllachie – from a whiskymaking perspective, the most significant change is a lengthening of fermentation times. Distilleries from the 1960s are known for the lightness of their spirit, thanks in no small part to the shortness of the fermentation. This makes for a malty, textural spirit with delicate fruit notes. GlenAllachie of the future is set to change, as fermentation has been dramatically extended, going from around 48 up to 160 hours. This will add to the fruitiness and muscularity of the spirit, plus the team have brought in the use of peat in around 20% of the current production. 

Their wood program is as exotic as it is uncompromising, with almost an amalgamation of Billy’s previous successes in GlenDronach’s rich spirit and Benriach’s exotic cask program at play here. It might just be the perfect storm. 

GlenAllachie Double Sherry 2013 Vintage GlenAllachie Double Sherry 2013 Vintage

Distillery Facts

Region: Speyside

Origin: Glenallachie Distillery, Glenallachie, Moray, AB38 9LR, United Kingdom

Founded: 1967

Water Source: Ben Rinnes Springs

Washbacks: 6 washbacks

Stills: 4 (2 wash, 2 spirit)

Capacity: 3,900,000 litres per annum

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