A little known distillery, nested comfortably in the Speysides is the Allt-á-Bhainne, an almost unheard off whisky within the single malt realms. The blame, Chivas Regal who’ve pretty much ‘used and abused’ much of its produce as the Speyside component for its blends. Now, having said that the distillery has had a few releases now and then but more often than not, its found haven with other malts and grain whiskies.
But all that changed with Chivas unlocking the floodgates and letting this distillery test the waters with a release aimed at reaching a broader global audience. This entry level expression comes with a twist, not very Spey-like and to quote the distillery, “Just enough peat to start a fire!” Adding to the twist are the rustic looks – a bold neck, strong shoulders and a palm friendly curve to one half of the bottle, the other of course being flat – giving a nice contrast. On the flippy, the lovely contours do pose a limitation in terms of how you would pour the whisky…
Eye: Deep Gold
Nose: Caramel, barley and smoke are accompanied by the sweetness of honey, raisins and nougat. Infused are mild traces of red apples along with the earthiness of sun-dried tomatoes, a ginger like woodiness and white pepper.
Taste: Deep luscious demerara sugar is intertwined with a rich fusion of sherry and maple syrup. Not overly sweet is the play of vanilla cake, cream and cocoa powder with smoke nudging against the palate and a trail of spice that extends to the finish.
Finish : Medium , Warm with a mild hit of spice, complimented by raisins and brown sugar.
The AAB comes with a host of fruity yet creamy nuances, all tied together with a whiff of smoke, some warm spice and peat. The nose is inviting too with the sherry influence embedded in lovely honey sweetness that is complimented by a woody earthiness. For the price, this whisky delivers a melancholy of flavours that bounce in and around the palate, making it interesting, enjoyable and a lovely dram.
At AUD $65, this NAS whisky is sure value for money, nicely slotted in at a price point that makes it hard to ignore. I think this is a welcome winning move by the house of Chivas that gives it a means of gaining entry into the low to mid tiered single malts, offering many a stiff competition.
Preference : Neat, a splash of water or as a highball.