Whiskies aged in first-fill Sherry butts are especially so, and those drawn entirely from such sherried stock are invariably known as “sherry bombs” for the potent flavors the malt whisky has derived from its time spent mingling with the sherry-soaked wood. The ‘Sherried’ character, therefore, is down to the Sherry itself, but also oxidation and the way in which the Sherry has interacted with and changed compounds in the oak. All of these then interact over time with the maturing spirit.

The Sherry and wood form a pincer movement that stamps out distillery character or any sense of identity in the distillate itself. For me, a great Sherry-matured malt should possess a balance between distillery identity, fruitiness, earthiness and a lick of spice. Sherry bombs almost always eschew this tightrope balance in favor of heat, density and aggression of wood flavor.

Glenallachie is a relatively modern distillery, having been built in Banffshire in 1967-8 by Mackinlay, McPherson & Co., a subsidiary of Scottish & Newcastle. The distillery was built by William Delme Evans, the third distillery he had been involved with after Tullibardine and Isle of Jura

It has been in Small casks as it makes for a vastly increased surface area to volume ratio compared to the much larger sherry butts, leading to more cask influence and more of those intense sherried notes we’ve all come to know and love. Darkness 8 Year Old is a continuous release

Cask Type: Matured in ex-bourbon barrels. Following it is moved over to custom-made Oloroso sherry octave casks for at least three months. ABV: 60.4%

Nutty, fruity and tropical are the base aromas. Pecans, walnuts, apples, pears, fresh diced pineapples, coconut, apricots. Some spice of cinnamon with a touch of vanilla and caramel. Sherry influence becomes more apparent over time. There is an overtone of acetone that detracts from the base aromas. Add a drop of water and notes of brown sugar, red fruit, peach and stem ginger cream develop.

On first sip, a strong, there is wave of pepper spice and oak. Once the palate gets acclimated, a course and oily bitterness takes control and renders any other flavors almost undetectable. Peeping through the vortex of bitterness is a trace of toffee sweetness and roasted nuts that lasts for the briefest of moments. Another wave of sharp spice comes forward towards the finish.  Creamy with treats from the tuck shop such as pencil sweets and orange sherbet.

Red apple and malted milk busicuits

Balance, Body & Feel
A bold, fruity whisky, it offers notes of Amoretti biscuits, raisins, prunes and rich oak spice. Diffused and unfocused. The nose is promising but no real foundation. The palate is contains no real flavor other than bitterness.