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Allt A Bhainne

Allt A Bhainne

It is fairly safe to say that Allt A’Bhainne (pronounced: olt-a-VAYN) is not a regular name in people’s lists of top ten distilleries. One of a handful of distilleries built in the anticipated boom of the late 60s and early 70s, it has appeared in many independent bottlings through the years but never officially. A modern distillery from day one it has always produced a blending friendly, lighter style of spirit which unfortunately doesn’t always travel so well into single malt expressions. It was expanded with a second pair of stills in 1989 and eventually changed hands from Diageo to Pernod Ricard in 2001 who mothballed it until it was reactivated in 2005. The whisky from Allt A'Bhainne has almost all gone into the Chivas and 100 Pipers blends during its short life, save for the occasional cask that finds its way into an independent bottling.

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Allt A'Bhainne Distillery

Founded: 1975
Stills: 2 Wash 2 Spirit
Water Source: Scurran & Rowantree Burns
Capacity: 4 Million Litres
Owners: Pernod Ricard

The main characteristics of the distillate are a very big grassiness with notes of cereals, butter, porridge, vegetables and some quite sweet notes with occasional citrus. There are expressions available from most of the independent bottlers but it is really a blending malt so looking for incredible cask strength belters is probably something of a hard task. However as a summer malt Allt A'Bhainne really excels. It is not exactly an old Ardbeg or Brora so it is a whisky you can feel free to have a bit more ‘fun' with. Ice in summer, a perfect lighter base for whisky cocktails, home blending experiments… the list goes on. It is a plain but clean spirit and one that leaves plenty room for having fun and not being too anal or precious about. After all, isn't whisky really about fun?

New owners Pernod Ricard may have changed things regarding the production process but for the foreseeable future Allt A'Bhainne seems destined to remain a blending machine as it always has done. Perhaps renewed efforts in wood management will see some big changes in time but we will have to wait and see.

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