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With looks of an elapsed 1960’s vacation resort and a silly Gaelic name that translates to ‘the Burn of Milk’, Allt-A-Bhainne sure had its drawbacks from the very beginning. But that need not be the cause of resentment towards this distillery, the home of well-established brands like Macallan and Clynelish are no oil paintings either, but all is forgiven as they can cook up a formidable spirit. Alas, says the whisky community, Allt-A-Bainne at best produces a mediocre dram. Leaving us with three possibilities: swallow the bitter pill, ignore this one, or try to find a gem release that can somehow match our high snobbish standards. Swiss independent bottler Chapter 7TM, may just have done that… Let’s have a look.
Description: matured for 18years in a bourbon hogshead #166300 and bottled at 59.2% (The angels were benevolent).
Nose: fresh and floral. We’re in the pastry cabinet: cupcakes with orange cream filling and vanilla icing, a sniff of cinnamon and a dash Cointreau. An off-note of card board, but not unpleasant at all.
Mouth: a colossal thick oily body, with a strong alcoholic bite and scorching body feel. On the palate notes of various spices are laid out: cinnamon, caraway, ginger and cloves. But it also comes with a back-up of chestnut and apple essences. (with water added: the palate changes into a more approachable, but slightly bitter butter cake. Definitely creamier, with more elements of orange and a stronger impression of oak)
Finish: medium long, fades on a bitter citrus peel.
Verdict: I was pleasantly surprised, fresh and fruity with a solid spicy body. Plus, the high alcoholic strength makes this a particularly fun whisky to play with. You can try it neat and explore all its power and might, or add a dash of water and go for the more amiable version. Comes at an affordable price, try it out today.