Something very special today - we’re delighted to announce the imminent arrival of the new relaunch of one of Scotland’s most famous and well-loved historic blends: White Heather!
Billy Walker, owner and Master Distiller at Glenallachie distillery, began his career in the whisky industry in 1971 as a blender, so the resurrection of the heritage White Heather brand is a source of great pride for him.
White Heather originally appeared in the 1950s and Aberlour’s splendid single malt whisky was the keystone malt whisky in the glory years. The original White Heather cube bottles, particularly the aged and higher-strength versions, are still worth picking up at auction nowadays but the brand suffered after a Pernod Ricard takeover in 1974 and was discontinued in the mid-1980s.
This new bottling, though, is White Heather as we’ve never seen it before. A combination of innovation and respect for tradition has been a hallmark of Billy Walker’s way of doing things, and his new White Heather has this in spades.
White Heather 21-year-old is the oldest expression ever bottled by this historic brand. The blend is a combination of 53% grain whisky with a very high single malt content of 47%, made up mostly of Speyside and Highland malts with a dollop of Islay malt whisky bringing some smoky complexity. All of these whiskies were from either first fill bourbon barrels, second fill bourbon casks or sherry butts.
A malt content as high as 47% is almost unknown nowadays but was more common in high-end blends up until the 1960s and 70s. Going back further to the immediate post-War period and earlier, a malt content around 50% was expected for any good quality blended whisky, but blending practices have changed in the intervening decades.
Another factor that sets the new White Heather 21-year-old apart is the blend’s extraordinary marrying period. The initial vatting was done when the component whiskies were all a minimum of 18 years old but the assemblage was subsequently returned to new barrels - a mix of Oloroso or Pedro Ximenez sherry puncheons and some virgin Appalachian oak casks - to rest for a further three long years before bottling.
The result is a perfectly integrated blended Scotch whisky in the finest tradition. The timing is perfect, coming after Mr. Walker’s triumph last year when he was named Icons of Whisky Global Master Blender/Distiller of the Year.
White Heather 21-year-old stock will be very limited and available via our VIP Club. We will notify customers on our mailing list and social media pages of when the stock will go live.