Feb 5, 2017

Hepburn's Choice Glenallachie 11yo...

Hepburn's Choice Glenallachie 11yo (59.8%): Another single cask, cask strength whisky from Hepburn's Choice bottled for K&L Wines. It is an eleven year old Glenallachie. Glenallachie is a fairly new distillery founded in 1967 and purchased by their current owners Pernod Ricard in 1989. Although the distillery's main purpose is supplying malt whisky for Pernod Ricard's Clan Campbell blend single cask bottlings show up from time to time. * It is bottled at cask strength and the sherry butt the whisky was living in yielded 601 bottles.

Color: Dark amber, orange blossom honey.

Nose: Heavy, thick and muted in the beginning... After airing it just a few seconds all of a sudden sulphur takes over entirely: Unstruck matches and boiled eggs forgotten in the fridge from last week. Imagine an early morning walk in a forest after a pretty heavy pour: Soil saturated with water, fallen leaves are rotting, wet moss and wild mushrooms are everywhere. Way too musty and sulphury for me, not enjoyable... Balsamic vinegar, soy sauce and thick lamb stew. I was hoping that a few drops of water would help but they only help as much as they can. Maybe a tad more tolerable now: Old leather boots, chewing tobacco and gym lockers... 

Palate: A little better on the palate but not so much... Surprisingly easy drinking at cask strength by the way if you can keep up with all the sulphury notes: Maotai, cola flavored gummi candies and soy sauce. Behind all that sulphur I can tell that there are some nice notes like Oloroso sherry, milk chocolate and sticky toffee pudding but all hidden behind a screen. Would it help if added some water? Nope, didn't help... Mushrooms are back, this time cooked. Apple vinegar, dried dates and locust pods. Somehow water made it also very harsh on the throat. Hot banana peppers and alcohol burn...

Finish: Long and sweet... Very young cognac and cherry coke with alcohol burn.

Overall: This is a whisky with serious flaws unfortunately... It is more of a sulphur bomb than a sherry bomb. Especially the nose is a major letdown. Even for a person like me who has an extremely high threshold for sulphur it didn't make it. The palate kinda tried to save the day but not quite succeeded... Well, that's how it goes with single casks and independent bottlings. Sometimes you win sometimes you lose... No wonder why Hepburn's Choice decided all of a sudden to bottle this huge sherry butt after only eleven years and price it for $50...

Price: $50

74/100

* All distillery info sourced from Malt Whisky Yearbook 2017 edited by Ingvar Ronde. I don't know how I would survive without this magnificent book.