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Glenallachie 31 yo cask #6117 (1989/2020, OB, 50,7%)

Last weekend, during the Whisky Revolution Freedram (the incarnation of Whisky Revolution Festival in this cursed 2020), Fabio Ermoli, importer and reputed independent bottler with Valinch & Mallet, brought one of the big bottles in Glenallachie’s latest release: it is an ex-PX single cask distilled in 1989, part of Europe’s batch 3 of the various single casks put on the market. We have already seen King Midas Billy Walker’s strategy in action, and it has always been a winning one: we are confident that, after the first trials, the road is downhill for him, this time too. The colour, very dark, already invites to taste.

N: you smell this whisky and meet the infinite shades of wood, in the most positive sense you can imagine: sandalwood, pout pourri, warm wood in the sun. Balsamic notes that stand between menthol and balsamic vinegar – even with something resinous and spicy that reminds a bit of Rye. And the fruit, what about the fruit? There is plenty of it: cherries in spirits, blackberry and blueberry jam. Chocolate and orange (peel pucciata nel), Boers. Ricola blackberry candies? A hair of rhubarb, a bit of tamarind and cola (maybe even chinotto?). Very good. After a while we are struck by the idea of the panettone – with raisins, let it be clear.

P: we had already understood it in the nose, but that the sherry here is predominant is indisputable. The attack is all on liqueur and explosive, sticky, with cherries in spirit. There is hypermature red orange, malaga cream – still panettone and sultanas, so much chocolate that it becomes dark, cocoa beans. Notes reminiscent of certain bitters, with herbaceous and caramel notes – then more cola and tamarind. Here too it’s a bit balsamic, and together with the bitter and herbaceous part it recalls notes of rhubarb and resin. Very good, very complex.

F: long, very sweet, among the jam, sweet licorice, a moist wooden thread (there is also something of… mushroom, perhaps?), malaga cream.

In this category of hyper-sherried whisky, this is an absolute champion: Pedro Ximenez, which to our taste remains a little less seductive than Oloroso, manages to save this dram a too heavy sweetness, and the result is really convincing, balanced and explosive at the same time. The good old Billy is pretty skilled when it comes to this kind of operations, well, it’s quite evident… We are not sure that blindly we would be able to distinguish him from some GlenDronach of his management, but let’s be clear: it’s not a criticism, it’s a declaration of true love. 91/100.

Recommended soundtrack: Claudio Abbado conducts Martha Argerich and the Mozart Orchestra for this Concerto di Piano No.25 in C, K.503 – 1. Allegro maestoso.

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