North Star Spirits Glenallachie 8 Year Old

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Glenallachie Distillery

Glenallachie distillery was built in Aberlour, Speyside by blending firm MacKinlay-McPherson. It would eventually come under the ownership of Chivas Brothers, which would, in turn, come to be owned by Pernod Ricard. In July 2017, news broke of the distillery’s sale to Billy Walker, the man behind the revival of BenRiach and its sister distilleries GlenDronach and Glenglassaugh. It will be very interesting to see what the future now holds for this distillery, known mostly as a blend provider rather than a single malt bottler.

William Delme-Evans

Glenallachie was part of a 1960s whisky boom and was designed by William Delme-Evans. Delme-Evans was born in Wales in 1902 and became fascinated with the production of whisky during regular family holidays to Scotland. Tuberculosis prevented him from serving in the war and hindered any attempt at manual work. It did, however, leave him with plenty of time to make plans. In 1947, The Welshman purchased a former brewery in Perthshire and set about converting it into a distillery. Tullibardine opened in 1949 and was sold in 1953 for a tidy profit. William would not stay out of the industry for long, however.

In 1960 a pair of landowners on the isle of Jura made plans to bring distilling back to the island. They approached Delme-Evans and asked him to design the new distillery. Not only did he oversee the building of the project, he also went on to serve as its manager until he retired in 1975. During that time, however, he was also employed by MacKinlay-McPherson to design another distillery, this time in Speyside. He chose a sight at Aberlour, arranged to have water piped from nearby Ben Rinnes and set about building what would become Glenallachie. William Delme-Evans passed away in 2003 but it is without a doubt that he left behind a significant mark on the modern whisky landscape.

Just prior to the distillery’s sale to Billy Walker, a ‘distillery edition’ single malt bottling appeared on retailers shelves priced at around £30. It seems likely that we will see further bottlings under new management but in the meantime, perhaps the best way to sample the spirit from Glenallachie is to look towards independent bottlers.

The Whisky

This particular expression is 8 years old. It was bottled by North Star Spirits at a wonderful cask strength of 58.3%.

Smell: Toffee, Orange, Berries and Raisins with a touch of Aromatic Spice.

Taste: Cinnamon and Chilli Powder, Orange, Dark Chocolate and Sherry.

Thoughts: A good value dram with character. At 58% it also packs a bit of a punch. It’s a big, rich, spicy dram that really needs a drop of water to truly shine, but when it finds it’s feet it becomes a very satisfying mouthful. North Star just go from strength to strength. This second run of bottlings easily matches, if not surpasses, the first and one can only wonder what treasures will come in future. Look out for them, because great things are happening.

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