In 2018 the GlenAllachie launched its new and revised core range of single malt whiskies into the market. The distillery had changed hands back in 2017 when it was purchased by a team including BenRiach’s renowned Billy Walker. The new core range focussed on a strong rebrand and a linear flight of age statement releases: 10yo, 12yo, 15yo, 18yo and a 25yo. All new releases have a traditional scotch maturation combo of bourbon and sherry casks as well as virgin oak casks. Following the brand’s success, a year later, in the summer of 2019, the brand has launched a new side range of age statement releases, but with a focus on different wood finishes. The new releases, simply the “Wood Finish” range, comprise of: an 8yo with Koval Rye whiskey cask finish; a 10yo with Port Wood finish; and a 12yo with Pedro Ximenez finish. Here we look at the youngest entrant, the Koval 8yo. This GlenAllachie spirit has spent its last 18 months in quarter cask barrels from the Chicago-based distillery Koval, which formerly contained their signature organic rye whiskey, and has been captured at 48% ABV.
Light and tingly. Instant grass and grain. Is spiced pineapple a thing? Is it coated in sugar and cinnamon and then cooked? It bloody well should be. Well that’s what this whisky’s vapours are conjuring up in the mind’s eye anyway. A nice little earthy honey sweetness to it too. Its got a nice, drying sort of Chardonnay / white wine smell to it too. Lots of little flavours at play here – very light.
Such a soft, oily texture when this touches the tongue. A nice banana or vanilla custard start and then, wooomph. Someone’s lit the touch paper here. Spices are teaming out of the liquid. Maybe some more pineapple and honey, maybe even pears too, but that’s all now playing second fiddle to the rye’s black peppery sizzle.
Such a silky texture as slips down and then someone cranks up the dial on spice – all the way up to 11. That said it fizzles out fairly quickly and leaves a final sweet flavour with a touch of aniseed and cinnamon.
A good opening dram for any evening or event and one to get the tastebuds primed and prompted. It remains remarkably light and sweet, in body but has a thorough and decent spicy fire to it. Going back to the Spinal Tap reference, this is like as if someone’s turned up the treble and bass and scooped out the mids. Both sides of the taste spectrum are working in balance to create something fresh and punchy. If this is an 18 month finish from just the Koval Organic Rye’s cask then I’d almost be intimidated of that original whisky’s intensity on the spice front! Back to this GlenAllachie though and I’d be very happy to start the evening with a really large glass of this and then maybe move on to another wood finish…
Sample disclosure: This sample was received as part of a promotional Tweet Tasting event for The GlenAllachie to celebrate the release of their new Wood Finish series. All notes are however written as an honest, fair and independent review of the whisky.