The GlenAllachie Distillery has announced the second release in The Past, Present & Future Series as 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. Launched in May, the range honors whisky master Billy Walker’s half-century-long career in the Scotch industry, with each release symbolizing a key milestone for the veteran blender.
The Present Edition is a Mizunara Virgin Oak Cask Finish, 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 an eye-watering £2 million (US $2.6m).
The 16-year-old whisky underwent a lavish maturation journey beginning in rich Pedro Ximenez and Oloroso Sherry wood before being transferred into incredibly uncommon Mizunara virgin oak casks with a medium level of toasting and charring. 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.
Its tendency to twist as it grows creates issues for stave production, and its porous nature – which on one hand is beneficial, allowing for greater interaction between whisky and wood – makes it much more inclined 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.
Following a luxurious two-step maturation journey, the consequential chestnut-hued single malt boasts notes of dark chocolate fondant, forest fruits, stem ginger, and coconut shavings.
Due to the scarcity of Mizunara oak, the release is limited to just 2,900 bottles globally; each presented at 48% ABV, without added coloring or chill filtration.
“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,” said Walker about the new release. “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 shortcuts 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.”
The GlenAllachie Billy Walker 50th Anniversary Present Edition can be purchased through global specialist retailers and is priced at £280 ($335 USD).
For more information, head over to GlenAllachie’s official website.
Earlier this month, The GlenAllachie Distillers Company unveiled the two latest additions to its Macnair’s Exploration Rum Range, Exploration Rum Jamaica Peated and Exploration Rum Jamaica Unpeated.