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  • Writer's pictureErnie - Ernst Scheiner

Glenallachie. The Making of Whisky

For many years, the Glenallachie distillery was known to only a few.
Billy Walker and his team
brought the single malts from Speyside
into the spotlight
with great fanfare.

First Published in 2018. Updated February 2024

Apologies WIX Software translates sometimes whiskEY

In a press release dated November 28, 2023, investment innovations for GlenAllachie's environmentally friendly whisky production are announced. The management team led by Billy Walker received a substantial grant from the Scottish Industrial Energy Transformation Fund (SIETF) to install technologies that will sustainably improve energy efficiency in production in an environmentally friendly way.

The amount for the feasibility study was £125,000 in early 2023. In total, the Scottish Government has awarded £9.4 million to support Scottish industry in reducing carbon emissions through decarbonisation and energy efficiency projects (including the companies BrewDog, Whyte & Mackay and Diageo). The actual amount of the grant has not been published.

"...this would realize estimated greenhouse gas emissions savings of 550 t CO2e (with current production capacity)."

Source: Scottish Government Publications

The generally poor energy consumption values in the Scottish whisky industry can thus be made more energy efficient in the future.

In particular, the application of environmentally friendly technologies such as Mechanical Vapour Recompression (MVR) will reduce GlenAllachie’s current energy requirements by 50%.

The MVR system effectively collects the waste heat potential from the distillation system that would normally simply be lost to the environment. The waste heat is returned to the pot stills.

The savings effect is considerable, because around "70% of the energy consumed at GlenAllachie is used to operate the four stills."

This will also significantly reduce energy waste and the negative carbon footprint. The existing infrastructure of the electricity supplier SSE will be optimized. A larger, more powerful transformer will be installed to enable the energy technology changes.

The switch from natural gas to environmentally friendly electricity and alternative energy sources such as biogas, which is already produced from the distillery's by-products, as well as hydrogen that will be commercially available in the future, is being implemented at a rapid pace.

The MVR technology will be powered by 134 solar modules in a field next to the distillery.

They are also working with Highlands and Islands Enterprise to modify the existing boiler and improve its controls and efficiency.


GlenAllachie. The Beginnings

As Mike Duncan drove through the Valley of Rocks to his interview at Glenallachie, he was amazed by the sobriety of the spacious facility. Huge warehouses lined the single track road that led him to a sprawling, whitewashed production facility a few miles south of Charlestown of Aberlour. In front of the stillhouse was a tanker truck with the words CHIVAS REGAL written on it.

The new spirit is probably intended for the blends of the former French owner Pernod-Ricard, thought the prospective distillery operator. Mike, who comes from Lossiemouth, had recently acquired the General Certificate in Distillation at the Institute of Brewing & Distilling at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh.

In the nearby Estate Distillery of Ballindalloch, he learned the secrets of double distillation of a fruity barley brandy from experienced master distillers Charlie Smith - Talisker and others - and Colin Poppy - Auchroisk and others. The ambitious young academic with a BA in Corporate Communications from Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen was looking for an ambitious challenge and wanted to distill a whisky with passion in the new team of the luminary of the Scottish whisky industry, Billy Walker . He got the job. Chivas employees Dennis Cooper and Kenny Dent, who had previously worked at the distillery, introduced him to the previous production methods.

Update: Mike Duncan left GlenAllachie at the end of July 2022.

Located at the foot of Ben Rinnes, the distillery was founded in 1967 by Mackinlay-McPherson Ltd., a subsidiary of Scottish Newcastle Breweries, and produced a double-distilled malt. This mysteriously disappeared as a fruity, strong aroma carrier in various blended whiskies, including Mackinlay's, King's Ransom, House of Lords, Clan Campbell , 100 Pipers, Legendary, Queen Anne and of course Chivas Regal, as well as in the house brands MacNair's and White Heather .

In 2016, 3.6 million liters of pure barley spirit were filled into oak barrels for maturation and stored on site in the huge warehouses in Glen Aileachaidh , Mulben or Keith (production capacity is four million liters of pure alcohol per year). Independent bottlers - including Signatory and Cadenheads - supplied friends of a strong, non-smoky Speyside malt with numerous cask bottlings. In 2017, one of the rare original bottlings was released.

With the sale of the modern-looking distillery in 2017 to a Scottish trio led by Billy Walker, famous in the whisky world - former co-owner of BenRiach, GlenDronach and Glenglassaugh - a distillery once again came into Scottish ownership after many years of foreign ownership - Pernod-Ricard.

Walker explains:

“I knew Glenallachie Malts, I liked the spirit,
its balance and charisma...
Glenallachie had potential that we should develop.
The water is great...actually ideal for our purposes.”

After the sale of the BenRiach Distillery Company for the equivalent of £285 million to one of the largest American spirits groups, Brown-Forman Cooperation - Jack Daniel's, Old Forester, Woodford Reserve - in 2016, Walker had his pockets full of dollars and was by no means planning his retirement.

"I actually didn't want to sell, but I had to bow to the decision of my two South African partners. I still had a few things left to do.
So I wanted to develop Glenglassaugh into its own brand.
I found the separation from BenRiach, GlenDronach and Glenglassaugh very painful.
It was a big disappointment for me.”

Innovation: Technology and distillation set standards in the whisky industry.

The international press response was tremendous and made the name The GlenAllachie known worldwide overnight. Whisky bloggers sparked a great desire for these unknown Speyside whiskies.

The new owners, including the widely recognized whisky maker Billy Walker, his partners are long-time colleague and former director of the Benriach Company, Trisha Savage, and the previous manager of Inver House Distillers, Graham Stevenson, have one goal: "We want to make an outstanding single malt Scotch whisky that is produced directly by Scottish hands under our own responsibility, without the bureaucracy of the large corporations and their financial influence."

The entrepreneur Walker, who is over seventy years old, explains his motivation:

"Glenallachie was never really developed seriously as a single malt brand, we investigated the maturation qualities and recognised the dormant potential for effective future marketing in the boutique market, which we were familiar with from our own experience with BenRiach and GlenDronach.
It is joy, passion and drive all at the same time to redevelop this distillery and its performance.
It’s great to do something like that today.”

Trisha Savage retired in 2021 upon reaching retirement age

from the management.

She was involved in the Scottish whisky industry for 35 years.

William Delme Evans

The distillery was designed in 1967 by the brilliant Welsh autodidact William Delmé Evans, who had an excellent technical concept. He was originally a wealthy, educated agronomist who ran a farm in Northamptonshire. A bout of tuberculosis forced him to change careers. From then on, he devoted himself to extensive studies in science and technology, with a focus on whisky distillation.

He vividly remembered his childhood and youth in Scotland, where he had roamed distilleries with the son of an exciseman. Building a whisky distillery became his lifelong dream. A disused brewery in Perthshire caught his interest.

Innovator. William Delmé Evans set new standards in whisky production. Photo Courtesy of Glenallachie Distillery.

After a thorough examination, he was particularly impressed by the quality of the water. In 1947, Evans purchased the facility and converted it into a modern, exemplary distillery. The first barley brandy bubbled in 1949. However, the planning and construction had overtaken his health. In the end, he had to sell Tullibardine to a Glasgow whisky dealer in 1953.

After years of rest on the farm, the specialist followed a planning assignment to Jura. There, in 1958, he built a new production facility in Craighouse with a hotel and residential buildings on the remains of a distillery that had closed in 1913. The stills are almost identical in shape to those at Tullibardine, only much larger. Production began on April 23, 1963. Evans was manager at the Jura Distillery until 1975.

The whisky genius William Delmé Evans (1920-2013) consistently implemented his plans for a gravity run distillery . An innovative feature was the separate distillation, which the stillmen controlled with two spirit safes. Today, parallel distilling is standard in the new Dalmunach and Tullamore distilleries. Evans' technological concepts for energy efficiency set standards in the Scottish whisky industry. Notable milestones include Tullibardine, Jura, Macduff and GlenAllachie.

Horizontal Shell and Tube Condensers

Factually practical

Impressed by Evans' technological skills, the directors of Mackinlay-McPherson Ltd. - now the operator of the Jura distillery - asked the experienced project manager to prospect, plan and build another distillery - this time in Speyside. An expansion of production capacity was necessary because Mackinlay Scotch, popular in the UK in the 1960s, was experiencing a boom in demand in the USA. It is reported that finding a suitable location was very difficult because an adequate supply of high-quality production water had to be ensured.

The relatively soft, peat-soaked water is carried by the Blackstank and Henshead streams from the nearby slopes of the highest elevation in Speyside, Ben Rinnes, to the newly built distillery. Here, William Delmé Evans was able to consistently implement his concept of an up-to-date gravity flow distillery for the first time. The aim was to use gravity to save as much energy as possible when transporting the malt, grist and liquids.

The specialist brought all of his logistical and technical experience to the construction of this new distillery. Glenallachie became his legacy. The structural design was created by the architect Lothian Barclay. To this day, planners copy the ideas of the two developers.

According to the production steps, the process units are clearly structured and work on one level on the first floor. This concept ensures short distances (pipes, power lines, energy supply), clarity and efficiency.

Evans installed a massive four-roller Porteus malt mill, one of Scotland's first stainless-steel lauter tuns, six fermentation tanks made of low-carbon steel - now supplemented by two more from the Caperdonich Distillery, which was demolished in 2011 - and four stills with groundbreaking cleaning-in-place systems.

All areas are spacious. The extensive glazing ensures a light-flooded atmosphere. This concept forms a stark contrast to the dark, sometimes winding Victorian facilities of the Elgin-born distillery architect Charles C. Doig.

Mashing. Purify

Silos above the Mill Room store thirty tonnes - total capacity 270 - of Scottish malted barley. It is produced industrially on the North Sea coast in Port Gordon by Boortmalt, where Glenallachie's new Operations Director Richard Beattie was previously responsible for the quality of the malt for many years. The Concerto barley currently processed comes mainly from the Black Isle and Moray. The Propino, Oxbridge and Optic varieties were previously milled.

After a few years of cultivation, the variety changes industry-wide, as the barley becomes more susceptible to fungal diseases over the years and crop yields decrease,”

explains Beattie, a trained biologist.

Operators: Mike Duncan (left) and Phillip Murray processed in November 2021
37.6 tons of malt per week.
Distillery Operator Mike Duncan was from 2017 to July 2022
working for GlenAllachie.

In the feed mixer, 9.4 tons of grist - crushed malt - are mixed with 64.5°C hot water and flow into the lauter tun. Something miraculous happens: the fermentable sugar in the mash is dissolved out. With three additional pours - 82°, 90°, 95° - the mashman rinses out sugar, dextrins, minerals and proteins and optimizes the yield. The solid components - husks - that settle above the sieve bottom during the saccharification of the starch form a natural self-filtering bed and retain the insoluble components.

"This gives us a clear wort that is not cleaned by a metal filter. This clear wort is the best prerequisite for a fruity spirit,"

emphasises operator Mike Duncan. As a result, the relatively high flour content of twenty percent in the grist determined by Walker and Beattie in a series of tests (ten is usual) does not have a negative effect on the gentle five-and-a-half-hour lautering process; the mash does not gelatinise but remains permeable.

The wort is cooled in plate heat exchangers and the waste heat is used to heat the lautering water in an energy-saving manner.

"Under Chivas they worked 24 hours a day, seven days a week, they made eighteen mashes. We are currently limited to just four mashes a week,"

Mike refers to the current production.

Ferment. Distill

“We only fill four of the 50,000-litre fermentation vats with 42,500 litres of wort each.
The pitching temperature for the addition of 250 litres of liquid 4°C cooler Kerry Bio Science Yeast is around 16°C to 16.5°C in May, in summer it can be different, probably a little lower,"

Mike explains enthusiastically. "Series of tests led us to this value. Fermentation takes six days, approximately up to 160 hours. We reach a relatively high alcohol concentration of 9.4 to 9.6% vol. Our spirit becomes very, very fruity."

Various test series allowed fermentation for up to 500 hours.

Evans installed an innovative CIP system that cleans the fermenters as quickly as possible. In the 1970s and 1980s, a Brewer's Yeast was used, then the Pressed Yeast from Kerry or Mauri. The fermentation time was much shorter, only around 48 to 52 hours.

Two further stainless steel washbacks came from Caperdonich when this distillery in Rothes was demolished. They are used as containers for low wines blends with peated and unpeated feints.

GlenAllachie has had four huge stills since October 1968. The stills, designed by Evans, have relatively flat and very broad shoulders with strong necks and slightly downward-running lyne arms, which reduce the cleansing reflux effect and thus the repeated distillation of heavy alcohols.

The first alcohol flowed through the safe on February 9, 1968. Much has changed in production since that day.

“The wash stills are only filled with 21,250 litres of wash each so that the copper contact remains relatively large; we heat slowly up to a maximum of 99°C.
We take our time, in the spirit still we distill at an average of 80°C, the flow rate of the middle cut is around twenty-five litres per minute,”

reports the dynamic Mike. He clearly enjoys his work and is proud to be part of the team.

Separate spirit safes allow the stillmen to distill two different distillates at the same time. While one pair distills a non-smoky new make, a smoky spirit can be fractionated in the other.

Evans' innovative idea was to equip the 36,369-litre Wash Still No. 2 with six steam-heated pans , while in Wash Still No. 1 steam-powered heating plates brought the wash to the boil. The 23,911-litre Spirit Stills 1 & 2 are heated with coils . Evans' heating methods were considered progressive at the time, as in Scotland stillmen usually heated the boilers directly with coal. Until 2004, GlenDronach was one of the last coal-fired Scottish distilleries.

“Today, distillation is no longer gravity run , because electric liquid pumps supply a system of heat exchangers,” says experienced stillman Philipp Murray, who, like his colleague Mike, came from the Ballindalloch distillery.

"Before the raw distillation, the wash of the pot ale flowing out is preheated to around 60°C. A similar process takes place before the start of the second distillation. With the spent lees, we also preheat the mixture of low wines, foreshots and feints - 26.5% to 27.5% vol. alcohol - using the heat exchanger. This process saves energy and time.
The raw distillation takes between five and five and a half hours, the fine distillation of the spirit only two and a half hours.”

After distillation, the copper recovers in the stills, and purifying oxygen is allowed to flow into the interior through the open man door . The copper is thus refreshed for the next distillation process and is then able to achieve a more intensive purifying effect of the alcohol.

“This year - 2018 - we will distill around 800,000 litres of alcohol,
Ten percent of this is from a malt that is smoked with peat from Peterhead,
which is located north of Aberdeen, is dried between 60 and 80ppm,"

explains Richard Beattie.

Update March 2022: Annual production in 2021 was around 700,000 liters of pure alcohol. Of this, 100,000 liters were heavily peated distillates of an 80ppm malt specification.

Richard Beattie began his career at the Speyside Distillery.

"When we distill an unpeated malt, the middle run begins at around 74% ABV and ends at 62.5% ABV. We searched for the ideal cut points for a fruity Glenallachie spirit in a series of tests. With peated malt, the lower cut is between 61% and 58.5% ABV, as the phenols only appear relatively late.

This makes the alcohol a little rougher and fuller-bodied, with more character in the taste. By changing the separation points of the foreshots, middle cuts and aftercuts, we can vary the aroma profile. Glenallachie processes the smoky variant in MacNair's house blend. Around 420 litres of pure alcohol are obtained from one tonne of malt, with smoky malt it is a little less."

The surprisingly horizontally arranged tube condensers designed by William Delmé Evans, which are connected to slightly sloping spirit pipes, are unusual. Only in the Macduff and Dalmore distilleries do horizontal shell and tube condensers also liquefy the alcohol vapors. They are probably a result of gravity fed technology. They have a significant influence on the aroma profile of the barley spirit. In contrast to the otherwise usual vertically arranged condensers, the cooling water flows more slowly through the many small one-inch copper pipes.

A pump is not necessary because the cooling water does not have to be pushed upwards from below. The advantage: the cooling water temperature is more even, the gradually condensing and liquefied alcohol ultimately comes into direct contact with a smaller copper surface at the outlet, which makes the new make appear stronger and oilier. Sulphurous notes are not prominently noticeable, but their intensity depends on the cooling temperature.

Philip Murray:

“The pre-run takes between twenty-five and thirty-five minutes, but we measure this according to the amount of water flowing through.
The middle run begins after 450 liters.”

In 2 021 they distilled 700 000 litres of pure alcohol.

In 1977, Glenallachie's planner and manager WD Evans retired at the age of 67. He was succeeded by Willie Tait from the Jura Distillery. He remembers today:

"The lead time was at least an hour. At that time, everything was done by hand; computers were not yet used.
Electronic controls now make distillation easier.”


“What I find really exciting about Glenallachie is that we are dealing with a spirit that is not a light Speyside type, but a brand with a full, strong body,” says whisky maker Walker,

“It is so powerful that it can be matured in different barrels to extract the wood aromatic flavours.
Our spirit matures just as well in fresh American wood as it does in Pedro Ximénez, Oloroso, Moscatel, Marsala and Sauternes barrels, where it not only absorbs aromas and flavors, but also transforms what the wood offers it into a unique profile."

In April 2018, the Glenallachie team distilled a distillate from heavily peated barley malt for the first time: "The peated spirit is so fantastic," enthuses the retiree exuberantly, "...if we set the cut points correctly, we get 35ppm phenols, maybe a little more, the result is a wonderful mixture of smoke, vanilla and caramel."

Twelve steel racked warehouses on seven levels house more than just GlenAllachie rarities from the 1970s. These include two warehouses that exclusively house 500-litre sherry butts. Grain and malt whiskies for the house blends MacNair's and White Heather also mature in the Glen.

The legendary master blender Billy Walker has access to a stock of around 50,000 barrels.

This is a stroke of luck, as it means that GlenAllachie can sell both younger and older single malts with age statements, such as a 25-year-old from the Core Range. Half of the malts are made from first-fill bourbon barrels, a third from sherry casks - Oloroso, Moscatel, Pedro Ximénez - and the rest from French wine barriques and port pipes - all made from American or European oak.

The Master Mind Billy Walker was inducted into the Whisky Hall of Fame in 2021.

Billy Walker makes no compromises when it comes to quality. He is known for his meticulous and passionate work ethic.

“The Core Range and the vattings from various casks are the result of a detailed analysis and testing of the Glenallachie inventory as well as optimized wood management.”

There are sixteen warehouses on site with a capacity of 100,000 barrels. "Not all of them belong to us," reports Warehouse Manager Lindsay Comrie, "only around 50,000 barrels (2022) belong to the Glenallachie Consortium."

Twelve huge racked warehouses in the style of the 1960s dominate the Glen. Malts from the Chivas group and others mature in a well-ordered manner on seven iron rack floors. In two other pallet warehouses, several thousand bourbon casks are stacked inexpensively. The operators receive rent for these.

The small Dunnage Warehouse is full of precious items. Port wine aged whisky...just a few months.

What is new is the conversion of two areas into relatively dry Dunnage-typical warehouses - in which Billy Walker primarily carries out a double maturation in manageable quantities. Bourbon cask-matured Glenallachie is finished in wine casks, e.g. sherry, port, Marsala, Sauternes, as well as in virgin oak casks. As of October 2021, 50,000 casks of different sizes and origins are stored in the Allachie Valley.

Warehouse Manager Lindsay Cormie, committed and competent

"We spend around £20 million a year on purchasing new barrel cultures."

Juliette Buchan, Export Sales Manager, The GlenAllachie

Every week, the warehouse team in the newly installed filling store fills around a hundred barrels with a new make reduced to 63.5%, 68% or even 72% ABV. "In Evans' time it was also 63.5% ABV, but depending on the customer it could also be 68.5% ABV," says Willie Tait. A dedicated bottling line is currently being planned. Once it is completed, Glenallachie will be able to determine and control the quality standards of all production processes itself.

Billy Walker:

“Glenallachie allows us to repaint the colours of the landscape.
We will bottle the best whiskies because we are in the fortunate position that there are still old and older vintages maturing in the warehouses that can be placed in all segments of the market.”

His philosophy on blending is simple: "Two plus two equals five. The result must be greater than the components. Each whisky has its own DNA and after an initial maturation phase we can add further flavours through specific cask cultures."

Treasures from past production years. Samples were provided to the author by Kirsch Import.

The masterpiece

The twelve-year-old single malt Scotch whisky is the heart of The GlenAllachie. It incorporates the concentrated expertise of the blender Walker. It is a modern vatting from three different types of casks that brings together the results of sophisticated wood management.

One part was first matured in former bourbon barrels, and then spent six months in a second aromatic imprint in four hundred litre puncheons that Andalusian bodegas had previously filled with Pedro Ximénez and Oloroso sherry. Another part was given an intense spicy note in new 'virgin' two hundred and fifty litre American oak hogsheads.

Walker does not provide any information about the specific recipe and the respective ratio of Bourbon, PX, Oloroso and Juvenile Casks in the vatting.

The new GlenAllachie Standard initially smells of a multi-layered, fruity, fresh aroma, before transitioning into subtle caramel tones. A full bouquet of light fruits and spring blossoms conjure up an inspiring welcome. Respectful smelling is the order of the day. There is a lot to discover. Does the aromatic harmony continue when you taste it? Full-bodied, a little oily and smooth, the malt glides along the tongue, the aromas bloom intensely again and harmonize with the initial expectations. A circle is complete. Spicy notes give the whisky an exciting kick that lingers on the tongue for a long time and gradually dissolves into the taste of caramel candies.

The spicy notes probably come from the whiskies that were allowed to mature in the "juvenile hogsheads". The master blender was very sparing in his selection of these whiskies, as the spiciness does not in any way cover up the floral and fruity aroma. In the aftertaste, a fascinating complexity of raisins and sultanas appears. However, this is not dominantly strong; it complements the fruity and floral notes without covering them up.

Noteworthy are the very subtle smoky notes, which probably come from the “medium level three char” fresh hogsheads and make this Speysider extremely exciting. The dryness at the end is surprising. The alcohol is very well integrated.

Only “three thousand cases” were bottled for the first batch (9,000 liters).

The twelve-year-old GlenAllachie with 46% ABV tastes delicious and will find many fans. It is characterized by a very good price-performance ratio.

UK only exclusives. Whiskey at its finest. November 2021

The stillhouse of the Speyside Distillery GlenAllachie, built in 1967, still appears light-flooded and modern today. The most modern distillery technology, indirectly steam-powered stills, were a novelty in the Scottish whisky industry at the time.

The innovative energy saving systems set trends. Operations Director Richard Beattie:

“When we distill an unpeated malt, the middle run starts at about 74 percent abv and ends at 62.5 percent abv.
We conducted a series of tests to find the ideal cut points for a fruity GlenAllachie spirit.”

The horizontal cooling condensers are extremely rare in Scottish distilleries. Only in the Macduff and Dalmore distilleries do horizontal shell and tube condensers liquefy the alcohol vapors. They are probably a result of gravity fed technology. They have a significant influence on the aroma profile of the barley spirit.

The stillhouse of the Speyside Distillery GlenAllachie, built in 1967, still appears light-flooded and modern today. The latest distillery technology, indirectly steam-powered stills, were a novelty in the Scottish whisky industry at the time. The innovative energy-saving systems set trends. Operations Director Richard Beattie: "When we distill an unpeated malt, the middle run starts at around 74% abv and ends at 62.5% abv. We carried out a series of tests to find the ideal cut points for a fruity GlenAllachie spirit."

The horizontal cooling condensers are extremely rare in Scottish distilleries. Only in the Macduff and Dalmore distilleries do horizontal shell and tube condensers liquefy the alcohol vapors. They are probably a result of gravity fed technology. They have a significant influence on the aroma profile of the barley spirit.

PX casks, Margaux red wine barriques, Master Blender Billy Walker
and Warehouse Manager Lindsay Cormie take samples,
Photos courtesy of Glenallachie Distillery 2022

New GlenAllachie Standard 2022

"The wood portfolio that Billy Walker has access to when composing his Speyside Single Malt Scotch whiskies includes around 50,000 hogsheads, puncheons and the like. His clever barrel management and innovative approaches to maturation lead GlenAllachie's distillates to their best possible result.

Latest evidence: the GlenAllachie 8 yo

The 8-year-old Speysider will be a permanent addition to the distillery's core range. The whisky, made from a combination of Pedro Ximénez and Oloroso sherry casks as well as a small amount of virgin oak casks and red wine barriques, offers sherry-aged sophistication.

Rich in the classic notes of Speyside heather honey and butterscotch, perfectly balanced with sweet spices and a hint of ginger, the GlenAllachie 8 yo represents the character of GlenAllachie.....8 years

Cask type: Pedro Ximénez & Oloroso Sherry Puncheons, Virgin Oak Casks, Red Wine Barriques...46 % vol" Source: Kirsch Import

The surprise: a GlenAllachie Cuvée

Press release from Kirsch Import May 2022

" Billy Walker once again had the opportunity to demonstrate his great instinct for barrels. The living legend sensitively selected and combined barrels, puncheons, barriques and pipes to create a new GlenAllachie whisky cuvée.

The single malt, bottled exclusively for Kirsch Import, was first matured in American oak barrels. For an additional, aroma-intensive maturation process, Billy Walker selected three other barrel types with different characters: Pedro Ximénez Sherry Puncheons, Madeira barriques and port pipes.

The result:

An intense and exceptional single malt cuvée with complex aromas ranging from mocha, raisins and muscovado sugar to ripe garden fruits. The Portuguese barriques provide spicy notes, while the sherry puncheons add sweetness and depth. Finally, the port pipes add complexity and depth of color. (RRP: €69.90)

Tasting Notes:

Nose: Abundant mocha, liquorice and sultanas, followed by muscovado sugar, honey-glazed cherries and ripe garden fruit.

Palate: Waves of heather honey, cinnamon spice and caramelized sugar give way to syrup, ginger and orange peel."

Press release end

The single malt whisky was distilled in 2008 by the Chivas team in GlenAllachie. The basic maturation probably took place in bourbon barrels. After taking over GlenAllachie, the new owner and master blender Billy Walker created numerous GlenAllachie variations. The Glasgow Rangers supporter remained true to his principle of further maturation and fining, which he successfully implemented at BenRiach and GlenDronach: "In 2020, Walker bottled a Pedro Ximénez & Pinot Noir Cuvée Cask Finish...after maturing in American oak for finishing in three other cask types of different character: Pedro Ximénez Sherry Puncheons, Madeira barriques and port pipes."

The result is an intense and exceptional single malt cuvée with complex aromas of mocha, raisins and muscovado sugar and ripe garden fruits. The Portuguese barriques provide spicy notes, while the sherry puncheons add sweetness and depth. The port pipes add complexity and depth of color.

Kirsch Import describes the cuvée at a cask strength of 54.9% vol. The whisky is available exclusively in German specialist shops.

Master Blender Billy Walker integrates the individual aromas of each barrel to create an aromatic work of art.

New design in 2024

"Since the takeover by Billy Walker and Co. in 2017, there has only been one direction for The GlenAllachie : upwards. This upward trend of the distillery is now visualized in a new design. Diagonal elements, embossing and finishing represent the continuous progress of the independent Speysiders.

While The GlenAllachie Single Malts remain unchanged in terms of content, the visual update modernizes and premiumizes the brand - and brings the packaging in line with the quality in the bottle."

Source Cherry Import

Photos copyright The GlenAllachie Distillery.


Richard Beattie. Operations Director

Billy Walker and Richard Beattie have seventy years of whisky expertise combined. While others are retiring, Walker is making a fresh start.

The Entrepreneur of the Year 2016 wants to develop the single malts from GlenAllachie, which have so far been sold primarily by independent bottlers, into a brand that impresses with fine whisky qualities. As a qualified chemist, he initially worked on the contraceptive pill, but his interest in whisky drew him to Ballantine's, Inver House and Burn Stewart Distillers. The Glasgow Rangers fan achieved world fame with BenRiach and GlenDronach. Operations Director Richard Beattie complements Walker's passion for whisky in a congenial way. The former biologist planned the distilleries Torabhaig on Skye, Mossburn in the Borders and Akashi in Japan. He gained his first distilling experience over ten years at the Spey Distillery near Kingussie.

Operator Phillip Murray

Operator Phillip Murray brings a wealth of professional experience to the GlenAllachie team. Most recently he worked at the Ballindalloch Estate Distillery. "The first run takes between 25 and 35 minutes, but we measure this according to the amount that flows through. The middle run begins after 450 liters." Computer programs have been controlling and monitoring production for several years.


Ernie's Whisky CulTOUR 2018. The best way to stidy whisky making in detail.


Stroll around the old Glenallachie Distillery at The Gateway to Distilleries and enjoy lots of photos, please click photo:

About the author

Ernie - Ernst J. Scheiner is the editor of the portal The Gateway to Distilleries He photographically documents over 150 distilleries from the inside and describes the production of whiskies in detail. Since his studies at the University of Edinburgh, he has been involved with the subject of whisky and has published in specialist magazines

such as The Ireland Journal, the Kleinbrennerei, Whisky Passion and The Highland Herold . Features and stories appeared in the blogs whiskyexperts, whiskyfanblog and whiskyintelligence . As head of the VHS Ingelheim, and now as whisky ambassador, he leads distillation colleges, study trips and whisky culture tours to the sources of whisky.

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