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Allt-A-Bhainne

Vendor: Douglas Laing

Allt-A-Bhainne 2013-2023 | 10 Year Old Douglas Laing Provenance Single Cask DL18440

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Vendor: Signatory Vintage

Allt-A-Bhainne 2000-2022 | 22 Year Old Signatory Vintage Cask 9

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Vendor: Alistair Walker Whisky Company

Allt-A-Bhainne 2005-2022 | 16 Year Old Infrequent Flyers Cask 805181

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Vendor: Signatory Vintage

Allt-A-Bhainne 2000-2021 | 20 Year Old Signatory Vintage Cask 3

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Vendor: Gordon & MacPhail

Allt-A-Bhainne 1996 | Connoisseurs Choice

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Vendor: Gordon & MacPhail

Allt-A-Bhainne 1995 Connoisseurs Choice

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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 until 2018 there were never any official bottlings. A modern distillery from day one, it has always produced a blend-friendly, lighter style of spirit which unfortunately hasn’t always been well-expressed in single malt bottlings.

Allt-A-Bhainne was expanded with a second pair of stills in 1989 and eventually changed hands from Diageo to Pernod Ricard in 2001, after which the distillery was briefly mothballed until 2005. Allt-A-Bhainne's malt whisky 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.

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?

Allt-A-Bhainne's owners Pernod Ricard have tweaked the production process, and the distillery now also makes a lightly peated spirit which accounts for 30-50% of production. This lightly peated style contributed in 2018 to Allt-A-Bhainne's long overdue first ever official bottling, a gentle, lightly smoky no-age-statement dram. For the foreseeable future, though, Allt-A-Bhainne seems destined to remain a blend-fodder facility, as it always has been. Perhaps renewed efforts in wood management will see some big changes in time but we will have to wait and see.

Allt-A-Bhainne