A 25-Year-Old Exclusive Single Sherry Cask from the Incomparable Hart Bros. – Scotch Whisky News

A Stunning Old Sherry Cask from a Rising Speyside Star
1995 GlenAllachie 25 Year Old “Hart Brothers Finest Collection” K&L Exclusive Cask Strength Single Sherry Butt Speyside Single Malt Scotch Whisky (700ml) (Pre-Arrival) ($349.99)
“They just don’t make ’em like this anymore. It is a true beauty and easily one of the finest casks we’ll sell this year.” — David Othenin-Girard, K&L Spirits Buyer

The concerted effort that our spirits team has put into building and maintaining our relationships with the whisky world’s finest independent bottlers continues to pay off in the form of exceptional offers like today’s. Hart Brothers has been a go-to source for many, if not most, of our rarest and most distinctive single-cask Scotch bottlings, and GlenAllachie’s 1995 Speyside 25 Year Old Single Sherry Butt Single Malt is one more in a long line of inimitable drams that have emerged from their vast warehouse stocks in recent years. While many of its contemporaries in the high-end, aged Sherry cask space have skyrocketed in price over the past couple of years, this sublime 25 Year Old remains a relative steal in an environment where going market rates can make even the most seasoned collectors blush. We’re once again thrilled at the superlative quality for price on offer here, and we know our most fanatical Scotch enthusiasts will find the same measure of compelling value and character in this one-of-a-kind single-cask beauty, once they get their hands on it.

1995 GlenAllachie 25 Year Old “Hart Brothers Finest Collection” K&L Exclusive Cask Strength Single Sherry Butt Speyside Single Malt Scotch Whisky (700ml) (Pre-Arrival) ($349.99)

K&L Notes: An incredible find by any measure, the GlenAllachie has recently become the darling of Sherry-loving Scotch geeks worldwide. Why, you ask, could this random Speyside distillery go from completely unknown to widely sought-after? One name stands out—Billy Walker. We’re not so cynical (and certainly he isn’t either) to believe that he’s the only reason we’re seeing great malt out of this distillery suddenly, but it’s his astute consideration and deft purchase of this special distillery that have allowed it to flourish. Billy made waves more than two decades ago by taking over the Glendronach and Benriach distilleries. He spent the subsequent decades refurbishing their images, not with sleek marketing campaigns, but by barreling and bottling exceptionally high-quality whisky and selling it to us at a fair price. Now he’s set his sights on this underappreciated Speyside gem and no one is surprised that he’s finding some exceptional juice in those warehouses. We’re grateful that our relationship with the incomparable Hart Bros. has afforded us an opportunity to sell this exquisite cask of Sherry-matured GlenAllachie. While compared to many other heavily sherried, old Speysiders, the distillery bottlings being released currently look rather affordable; this exceptional cask beats their prices by nearly half. We’re not sure how many more of these might be hiding in the Hart Bros. warehouses, but we’ll buy every last one given the chance, and all the Sherry-loving fiends should too.

David Othenin-Girard | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: October 11, 2021

The sudden rise to prominence of GlenAllachie is as much a result of the historic lack of availability as it is the current quality of the distillery’s offerings. It’s not as though the sudden sale of the distillery magically resulted in an increase in quality—we simply had no reference point since it was almost non-existent before the modern era. I believe we once sold a young ‘Allachie aged in refill hoggies from Hunter Laing, but procuring a quality first- or second-fill cask was nearly unheard-of until the distillery changed hands. And due to the that change, whether it be the bottler’s relationship with the outgoing regime or the current one, we’re lucky enough to be selling this gorgeous butt. Needless to say, it’s a special cask not only because of that rarity but mostly thanks to the stupendous complexity it delivers. Here’s my take. The color is a vibrant chestnut. Immediately, the nose opens with a blistering attack of musky exotic wood, fine incense, persimmon jam, grapefruit marmalade, kaffir lime, ginger tea, and roasted nuts. The perfect balance between malt, cask, time, and wine. It’s not so dark as to be obviously first-fill (it’s most likely second-fill), but the sherry character is front and center, tempered by decades of aging and the rich character of this underappreciated single malt.

On the palate, a stupendous tension exists between the raw power of the spirit at 110 proof and the strangely vibrant fruit. An enveloping spice and rich texture give way to calming sweetness of the malt. Pointed and linear at first, the sherry spice and old oak dominating the malt, but with some air, dried fruit takes hold and fights back against the savory onslaught. Add just a few drops of water and it relaxes into a seamless quilt of complementary flavors. Big, fudgy notes on the nose now, with more oxidized oloroso (leather, coffee, earthy herbs), much more fruit, mostly stones and reds. On the palate, the rich texture remains and some tension remains, adding peppermint and chili oil, caramel candies, honey, yellow fruit, and the perfect denouement of exotic spice, which holds you through the warm comforting finish.

This is no sweet and simple one. No, no. This filled with power and complexity and begs you to take a few hours with the bottle to sit and reflect. Of course, it’s expensive, but considering the state of Scotch and the absolute lab-created NAS that is easily the same price, if not more, this represents one of the finest and most interesting casks we’ve ever had the pleasure of selling. I wrestle between whether the sample is better with or without water and have ultimately decided that while I believe it holds its water extremely well, I prefer it with either none at all or with a heavy dollop or two. Something magical happens when proofed down to about 46% in glass with a few minutes to open up, and it’s a window into a lost era of scotch. Take it just to the moment the oils come out of solution and you’ll experience a complete transformation. They just don’t make ’em like this anymore. It is a true beauty and easily one of the finest casks we’ll sell this year.

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