GlenAllachie continues to expand an already expansive portfolio of single malts. Not only does the newly revitalized Speyside distillery offer an impressively broad core range (8 years all the way up to 30!), but they have also embarked on a robust single cask program, myriad different finishes, and now this line, the Virgin Oak Series. We missed out on the first trifecta of Virgin Oak Releases, but we were lucky enough to come by small samples of these limited releases for 2022. All three expressions were first aged in ex-bourbon casks before being finished for approximately 18 months in a unique virgin oak cask. While not unheard of, the use of virgin oak finishing is still rather rare in the scotch world, especially Scottish oak. Thoughts follow.
GlenAllachie Chinquapin Virgin Oak 10 Years Old – Finished in Chinquapin Oak, a sub-species of White Oak sourced from the Northern Ozark region in Missouri and air dried for nearly four years before being toasted to medium levels. The aroma is fresh and bright with notes of honeysuckle, green tea, and sweet cereals that turn to warm banana bread as things open in the glass. The palate is sweet and light-bodied with notes of spice cabinet, coconut husks, and cocoa powder. A warming finish showcases lingering notes of baking spice and ginger snaps. 96 proof. A- / $82
GlenAllachie French Virgin Oak 10 Years Old – This single malt has been finished in virgin French Oak hogsheads sourced from the Haute-Garonne region close to the Pyrenees and air dried for 15 months. Woody and waxy on the nose with notes of freshly milled lumber, cooked cereals, and fresh honeycomb. The palate showcases a balanced sweetness and easy warmth with a distinct milk chocolate element that turns to coffee grounds on the mid-palate, then a lingering cocoa powder on the finish. A nice post-dinner sipper. 96 proof. B+ / $82
GlenAllachie Scottish Virgin Oak 15 Years Old – The most precious of the three with only 300 bottles for the U.S., this single malt was finished in rare Scottish Sessile Oak sourced from the Atlantic coast and air dried for 36 months before being toasted and charred to a medium level. The aroma is buttery with savory and sweet notes of Granny Smith apple pie, shortbreads, and vanilla bean. As it opens, brighter, sweeter notes of tinned pear and candied lemon peel arrive, coalescing into a rich and warming bakeshop aroma. The palate is well-spiced with notes of sweet black tea, chewy toffee, apricot cookies, and candied ginger. A dry, woody spice arrives on the finish which lingers with tropical fruits and a bit of sweet pipe smoke. A unique and engaging dram that I could revisit ten times and still discover something new. Unfortunately, my sample didn’t last anywhere near that long. 96 proof. A / $230