The GlenAllachie’s distiller celebrates 50 years in whisky making

July 27, 2022
By Ioni Doherty

World-leading whisky maker Billy Walker is celebrating his 50-year spell in the Scotch whisky industry by announcing a limited edition series of GlenAllachie Single Malts: the Past, Present and Future Series. The Past and Present have been released as has The GlenAllachie 30 Year Old Batch 2.

Mr Walker, a qualified chemist, has been at the helm of The GlenAllachie for almost five years, one of Scotland’s few independently owned and managed distilleries. His career spans production across numerous household name brands and companies, including Ballantine’s, Deanston, Tobermory, BenRiach, GlenDronach, Glenglassaugh and The GlenAllachie.

Mr Walker says, “I’m incredibly lucky to have been involved in the fascinating Scotch Whisky Industry for 50 long years. What a privilege it has been to have worked alongside some truly amazing people, and indeed to have been involved with some world-leading brands.

“Of course, there are some great memories and I truly pride in many of the achievements which our teams have achieved over the past half-century.

“The latest adventure is The GlenAllachie Distillery, and without question, we are so very fortunate to be steering this great distillery into the future, introducing its whisky to an ardent international audience.”

Mr Walker won the title of World’s Best Single Malt at the World Whiskies Awards 2021 for The Glenallachie 10 Year Old Batch 4 and his Lum Reek 21 year old claimed best blended malt in 2020.

Mr Walker’s most recent accolades:

  • World’s Best Single Malt (World Whiskies Awards, 2021)
  • Best Blended Malt Scotch (San Francisco World Spirits Competition, 2021)
  • World’s Best Blended Malt (World Whiskies Awards, 2020)
  • Master Distiller/Blender of the Year (Icons of Whisky, 2020)

Mr Walker was inducted into Whisky Magazine’s prestigious Hall of Fame last year – a permanent tribute to the lasting contribution he has made to the world of whisky.

To celebrate his fifty years of whisky making, GlenAllachie is releasing three Speyside Single Malts; The GlenAllachie Past, Present and Future Series.

PAST: The GlenAllachie Billy Walker 50th Anniversary Past Edition

A fully Sherry matured 16-year-old Single Malt Combining nine 2005 vintage Spanish Sherry butts personally selected by Mr Walker, just 4,000 bottle are available around the word with a cask strength of 57.1% ABV, natural colour and non chill filtered.

The GlenAllachie Billy Walker 50th Anniversary Past Edition is available to purchase through global specialist retailers, with a UK RRSP of £225.

PRESENT: The GlenAllachie Billy Walker 50th Anniversary Present Edition 16-year-old Mizunara Virgin Oak Cask Finish

An ultra-rare Japanese cask finished Single Malt Scotch Whisky: The GlenAllachie Billy Walker 50th Anniversary Present Edition 16-year-old Mizunara Virgin Oak Cask Finish.

The second in the range honouring whisky master Billy Walker’s career, the Present Edition is a Mizunara Virgin Oak Cask Finish (UK RRSP 280), Mr Walker’s first-ever use of the highly unusual oak species, representing the pioneering wood policy he is currently implementing at The GlenAllachie Distillery.

With a particular focus on experimenting with interesting and rare casks from small-scale, premium producers, the Speyside distillery’s annual cask budget for 2022 stands at AUD$3.8 million.

Mr Walker said, “As a Master Distiller, I’m regularly asked what proportion of the flavour profile of a whisky I attribute to the wood, to which I answer at least 70 per cent. As a chemist, I find supervising the flavour development of our whisky as it interfaces with interesting cask types truly fascinating. One thing I’ve absolutely learnt in the last 50 years is that there are no short cuts to achieving quality.

“I’m incredibly proud to release my first ever Mizunara virgin oak finished whisky; a cask type that has of course been on my radar to experiment with, not deterred by its undeniable challenges! I was confident that it would perfectly complement the bold nature of The GlenAllachie, and we’re delighted with the outcome. A very proud moment for a special personal milestone.”

Mizunara is a very scarce species of Japanese oak rarely utilized in the whisky sphere due to its expense and the multitude of challenges it poses to production: it has a tendency to twist as it groves and it has a porous nature. Beneficial in that it allows for greater interaction between whisky and wood, but it also means that casks are more prone to leak during maturation, impacting the final outturn. Additionally, the trees must grow to be around 200 years old before being felled; twice the age of most oaks used for casks.

Due to the scarcity of Mizunara oak, the release is limited to just 2,900 bottles globally; each proudly presented at a high strength of 48% ABV, without added colouring or chill filtration.

The Present Edition joins the first release in the range, The Past Edition: 16-year-old 100 per cent Sherry Matured Single Malt Scotch Whisky, released earlier this year.

Available through global specialist retailers, with a UK RRSP of 280.

The GlenAllachie 30-year-old Cask Strength Batch 2 Single Malt Scotch Whisky: AUD$1750

The GlenAllachie has also launched the second instalment of its oldest and most prestigious core offering. The annual batch-release by the leading distiller debuted last year to great acclaim, with the small quantity of bottles issued being met with substantial demand.

Batch 2 is a limited release of just 2,000 bottles globally, each encased in a premium black rigid box with impactful gold foil detailing.

The second instalment marries antique whiskies from eight casks handpicked by Mr Walker from stocks spanning more than 50,000 maturing across 16 on-site warehouses at GlenAllachie.

To create this sophisticated whisky, Mr Walker meticulously selected 1990 and 1991 vintages matured in six former Pedro Ximénez and Oloroso Sherry hogsheads and puncheons, along with two 1990 American virgin oak barrels which were toasted and charred to a medium level.

The result of Walker’s exceptional blending and wood management prowess is an outstanding whisky that epitomises rich Sherry-matured elegance, with flavour profile revealing layers of Seville orange, coffee beans, desiccated coconut and Medjool dates.

The remarkably opulent Speyside Single Malt is bottled at its cask strength of 50.8% ABV, non chill filtered and without added colour.

All The GlenAllachie whiskies are available from specialist retailers globally.

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