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The GlenAllachie Distillery has today unveiled three new bottlings in their Virgin Oak Series, a limited edition range that explores the influence of maturing whisky in a variety of different oak species from around the world.
The new trio of expressions consists of three Speyside malts. The 15-year-old Scottish Virgin Oak Finish, the 10-year-old French Virgin Oak Finish and the 10-year-old Chinquapin Virgin Oak Finish.
The radical flavour differences between the three bottlings are led by a variety of factors: the oak species, the local terroir and the period of natural air drying, along with the toasting, charring and coopering of the casks.
Each expression was first matured in American Oak ex-Bourbon Barrels. The whisky then underwent a secondary maturation period of approximately 18 months in virgin oak casks.
The Virgin Oak Series showcases the expert cask sourcing and wood management of Master Distiller Billy Walker, who reaches an impressive half-century as a blender and distiller this year.
The 15-year-old Scottish Virgin Oak – one of the few whiskies to ever be matured in Scottish oak – was finished in casks made of Sessile Oak (Quercus Petrae) sourced from the Atlantic coast of Scotland. Scottish oak is challenging to work with at all stages of production: growing, milling and coopering. Its rarity, costliness and tendency to knot mean it is scarcely used for whisky maturation. The wood was air dried for 36 months before being toasted and charred to a medium level. There are around 2,250 bottles available at a R.R.P. of £175.
For the 10-year-old French Virgin Oak Finish, casks of French Oak (Quercus Robur) were sourced from the Haute-Garonne region, close to the Pyrenees. The wood was air dried for 15 months before being filled. R.R.P. £61.99.
The 10-year-old Chinquapin Virgin Oak uses wood from the Northern Ozark region of Missouri in the United States. Once air dried for nearly four years the casks are toasted to a medium level. R.R.P. £61.99.
The three whiskies are presented at natural colour, non chill filtered and at a strength of 48%.
Commenting on the new releases, Walker said:
“Exploring the interaction of virgin oak with our whisky has become a real passion of mine over the last few years, and I feel it’s something that we are really specialising in. I don’t think it’s a secret that I am devoted to wood management and sourcing unusual casks, but I believe virgin oak is underexposed in the Scotch whisky industry; something we are eager to change.
“This expansion of our Virgin Oak Series showcases three superb Single Malts, each with incredibly unique attributes. I’m particularly proud to release a very rare Scottish Virgin Oak bottling; a long-held ambition of mine, with full appreciation of how challenging and expensive it is to work with. The result, in my humble opinion, is genuinely outstanding.”
For more on The GlenAllachie visit here