The GlenAllachie Distillers Company recently released its first-ever blended Scotch whisky, White Heather 21-year-old.
The distillery is known for its single and blended malt whiskies, and can boast of earning more than 50 spirit awards in three years and having a master distiller with almost 50 years experience running the ship.
Crafted by industry icon Billy Walker, the White Heather 21-year-old is small batch blended with a particularly high single malt content. The entire run is limited to only 2,000 bottles available worldwide.
Walker calls upon his first forays into the industry as a blender while taking inspiration from a whisky brand which was discontinued in the 1980s as the industry consolidated. White Heather was acquired by The GlenAllachie Distillers Company, led by Walker, in 2017, along with The GlenAllachie Distillery and MacNair’s Lum Reek Blended Malt brand.
Walker said he’s put his own unique spin on White Heather, elevating the flavor profile through wood management and a watchful eye on the maturation process.
To create this rare, small-batch blend, Walker first sourced what he felt was the best single malt and grain whiskies from the Highlands, Islay and Speyside. The whiskies spent 18 years maturing in a combination of first-fill American barrels, sherry butts and second-fill barrels and hogsheads.
In the GlenAllachie Distillery lab, Walker then crafted a unique recipe with an unusually high single malt content, including vintage GlenAllachie. The blend was then laid down for an additional maturation period, highlighting Walker’s wood management skills; spending three years in a carefully selected mix of Pedro Ximénez puncheons, Oloroso puncheons and Appalachian Virgin Oak casks to let the flavors marry and take on what’s seen as additional layers of depth and complexity from the wood.
The resulting whisky, which comes in at 96 proof, looks to balance a little peat from the Islay contribution, archetypal Speyside fruity notes, the heather honeyed sweetness of the Highlands, and a rich and rounded foundation from the grain components.
“This whisky is particularly close to my heart,” Walker said in a prepared statement. “Creating this blend took me back almost 50 years to when I started my career at Hiram Walker. It was there I started to learn the art of blending and the specialist skills required to select whiskies that when interfaced with each other ultimately amplified the overall flavor experience.”
With White Heather, he said he poured everything he’s learned on his whisky journey into crafting “a truly memorable small-batch aged blend that sits proudly alongside even the very best single malts. I wanted to honor the original blend while recreating it in a much more premium form with exceptional wood. It’s a fine balance bringing together the character of such different whiskies and cask types, but I’m incredibly proud to now unveil the end result.”
White Heather, priced at £120, or around $165 USD, is being unveiled globally at the same time Walker is being inducted into Whisky Magazine’s Hall of Fame, and in 2022, he will celebrate his 50th year in the whisky industry.
Official tasting notes for the whisky are as follows.
- Colour: Natural Gold-Bronze.
- Nose: Beautifully soft background with heather honey, butterscotch, peat reek and hints of tannins.
- Taste: Rich notes of heather honey, butterscotch, orange peel, and soft tannins, with a wonderful presence of peat and smoke.
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