I should need to confess a degree of bias in this article. Today, I'm going to trying something special. And rather close to my heart. This is a single cask whisky TopWhiskies has released together with Chapter 7. Chapter 7 are one of my favourite independent bottlers. So, when Selim asked if we'd like to do a few joint releases, it was an obvious answer.
We've released three single cask whiskies. The trio include a Mannochmore 11, an Allt-a Bhainne 12, and a Caol Ila 8. I recently wrote about the Caol Ila, and in this article I'm looking at the Allt-a Bhainne 12.
Allt-a Bhainne is one of Chivas Brothers 'workhorse' distilleries. Much of its whiskies is blended into Chivas Regal. So, it's always interesting to try Allt-a Bhainne as a single malt. Indeed, in the case of this release, a single cask. Allt-a Bhainne is known for being a light, fruity whisky. Working with Selim of Chapter 7, we decided to put a twist on the classic. We re-racked the cask into a Caol Ila first fill ex-bourbon cask.
We hand bottled this limited edition, and used hand written labels. It felt appropriate for such a special whisky. We've kept the whisky natural colour, and non-chill filtered; as with all Chapter 7 whiskies. It's bottled at 49.7% ABV, where we felt it really opened up.
Allt-a Bhainne 12 year old tasting notes
Colour: Natural colour; pale, bright gold, like a chardonnay. Lots of legs develop quickly and slide down the sides of my glass.
Nose: Orchard fruits, green apples and ripe pears. Faint apple wood smoke, and a salinity. A honeyed sweetness. And a green herbacious note, like aloe vera leaves.
Palate: Medium mouthfeel. Vanilla and green apples. Gingerbread, with real ginger, drizzled with honey. Gentle wood spice, and perhaps a faint ocean minerality. The ABV works well; at this strength, the alcohol adds structure, without any burn.
Finish: Medium, warming spices go through orange notes to end in malt sweetness.
Chapter 7 x TopWhiskies Reflections
As I say, I am rather biased on this one. So rather than end on a review, I'll just leave you with a few reflections. If you're new to Allt-a Bhainne I feel this would be a good starting point. Both its flavour profile, and its ABV, are very accessible. And, if you're familiar with Allt-a Bhainne, the Islay cask finish does leave an imprint on the whisky. Particularly on the nose. I love the combination of fruit from the orchard with a background nod to Islay's smokey ocean spray.
You can find this Allt-a Bhainne 12 year old here, and all three of our Chapter 7 x TopWhiskies releases here.