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PIONEERING SHERRY CASK SERIES

03/04/2024

Prominent Scotch whisky maker The GlenAllachie rolls out its first newly packaged limited-release Wood Collection expressions: three Sherry cask-finished whiskies.

The brand is set to debut six single malts matured in different Sherry cask types over two instalments this year, aiming to explore the contribution offered by each style.

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The first trio of new bottlings include a 9-year-old Fino Cask Finish (UK RRSP £60), a 9-year-old Amontillado Cask Finish (UK RRSP £60) and a 9-year-old Oloroso Cask Finish (UK RRSP £60).

Under the leadership of industry stalwart of 52 years, Billy Walker, the distillery – known for its rich Sherry maturations – has until now focused on ‘traditional’ Pedro Ximénez and Oloroso Sherry casks prior to this release.

Dubbed the ‘Sherry Series’, each expression spent an initial period in American oak ex-Bourbon barrels before being transferred to the expertly selected Sherry casks.

Known for its pale appearance, Fino – the driest Sherry style – must be biologically aged for at least two years under a yeast layer that prevents oxidation. Maturation in former Fino hogsheads has delivered a limited edition Scotch whisky “overflowing with poached pears, vanilla custard and sugared almonds”.

The Amontillado Cask Finish enjoyed secondary maturation in hogsheads that previously held this drier style of Sherry, which undergoes biological and oxidative ageing to develop a richer colour and more robust characteristics. The subsequent spirit is said to “deliver notes of dark cherries, toasted hazelnuts and caramel sauce”.

The darkest dry Sherry style, Oloroso is subjected to extensive oxidative ageing and is renowned for its pronounced nutty, dried fruit qualities. Using Oloroso butts to age The GlenAllachie has resulted in a single malt “bursting with dried cranberries, ginger biscuits, dark chocolate and almonds”.

The trio of Wood Collection limited editions are proudly bottled at a high strength of 48% ABV, at their natural colour and non-chill filtered.

Remarking on the launch, Master Distiller and Blender Billy Walker shares:

“This wood management project has been one of the most enjoyable in a long time. We’re exploring the influence of different Sherry cask types with whisky of exactly the same age and cask history. The lengthy secondary ageing period brings the incredible nuances and variations delivered by the Sherry maturations to the forefront.

“With the ‘Sherry Series’, we’re trying to achieve something special that would create intrigue and provoke discussion. Integrating the personality of six Sherry styles with The GlenAllachie’s heather honey DNA delivered a spectrum of aromatic and flavour characteristics that has exceeded our expectations. The first three expressions are truly exceptional – we can’t wait to share part two in a few months.”

The launch follows the recent introduction of the brand’s refreshed visual identity, with the core range available now. Released last month, the fourth batch of The GlenAllachie 30-year-old Cask Strength (UK RRSP £705, 49.1% ABV) combines five Pedro Ximénez and Oloroso Sherry casks.

The trio of Sherry cask-finished Wood Collection bottlings will become increasingly available in specialist retail outlets worldwide over the coming weeks. A further three Sherry wood expressions are set to launch later this year.

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