We are now in Speyside.
Richard Be. (for anonymity) gave us an appointment at the foot of the linn falls on the Burn water river that flows down from BenRinnes, telling us only "as a rocky place it hails from".
In Charlestown of Aberlour, we left Route 95 (remember, the 100 dram route -NDLR-) and took the path just before the bridge over the river that runs alongside the city distillery.
After 15 minutes of walking among the pines, we arrived in a quiet place ready for meditation but also for tasting. Here, apart from the sound of the waterfall, everything was just quiet. We waited several minutes. Surrounded by the waterfall and rocks we understood Richard's message and were in the full theme of our tasting of the day.
At GLENALLACHIE we take our time. Fermentation is long (sometimes 160 hours to stay in the whasbacks), distillation is no less so to produce the best aromas (use of horizontal condensers that allow the vapours to stay longer) and as far as the whisky of the day is concerned it has remained no less than a quarter of a century in barrels of American oaks, Pedro Ximenez and Oloroso. Here you have to take your time.
It is at the end of a quarter of an hour that we see emerging from the forest our man wearing as usual his magnificent red Scottish pants (which he had so much trouble finding). As the crow flies, the distillery is not far away at all and he must know shortcuts that do not force him to make a detour and pass right by the "competition".
From his tartan bag, he takes out a bottle bearing a black flocked label called GLENALLACHIE (as engraved in the rock). Below the figure of 25 in a gold circle makes us shudder.
Pour rendre à la terre son whisky (« from the valley of the rock ») il pose délicatement la belle bouteille sur une roche molletonnée de lichen. J’espère que ce n’est pas un troll qui va se réveiller et se sauver avec notre dégustation !!
Avant de pouvoir y goûter, il nous explique que l’eau qui coule du haut de la cascade est la même que celle qui coule dans les tuyaux de la distillerie et qui sert depuis à réaliser tout le processus de distillation depuis sa création en 1967. Il nous explique également que nous allons déguster un des premiers fait d’arme de Billy Walker (maître distillateur et copropriétaire de la distillerie depuis 2017) qui a essayé d’optimiser l’apport de chacun des fûts. Il nous compte également que ce whisky a été distillé en 1993 (je n’avais même pas encore défendu les couleurs de mon pays) sous l’air Campbell Distillers (propriétaire de l’époque) selon la méthode lente qui lui est immuable.
L’ « eau » (ou le whisky) à la bouche, nous le voyons servir nos verres qui n’ont toujours pas bougé de leur pierre (manifestement ce n’est donc pas un troll).
Before we get into the intoxication of the senses and tasting, Richard Be. invites us to immerse ourselves in the places, the smell of the forest, lichens, he even asks us to pour ourselves a big glass of the pure water of the Burn Water River.
He takes the opportunity to serve us. The whisky that flows in our glasses is a beautiful bronze color (25 years old, a good part of which is still to be found in PX!!!).
At the sound of the waterfall it's time!
When our nose approaches the glass (without getting too close to it to avoid polluting it with the 48% alcohol) it is a beautiful smell of wrinkled melon that emerges (you know those where the tail comes off easily).
Let's dive right into the glass. Of course, the soft warmth of the alcohol coats it but it is accompanied by beautiful notes of spices. Then come the smell of citrus jam (sweetened by the stove because it has little bitterness). Finally, when you plunge your nose into the glass for the third time, you project yourself at breakfast in the morning into the sweet smell of walnut bread, just fresh and still warm (a soft cushion for the nose).
We already know that our mouth will not be mismanaged! But to know it, you have to test it!
Wow! Wow! What a 25-second adventure in the mouth without any real alcohol aggression (there are no old whiskies!!!). First we attack with a raisin bread, then we move on to the slight bitterness of a 75% chocolate cake, then the saliva helps the taste soften and comes back to the sweet orange marmalade, stealthily raised an almond. The journey ends with woody notes.
While in the throat we still have the taste and softness of a dry apricot for a long time, we look up, look at the waterfall and say to ourselves: "we are fine"!
As Richard smiles and looks at us with his usual smile, the stone under which the bottle was placed starts to move, the bottle happily falls into the foam on the ground (ouf) and then rolls and finishes its journey in the small lake of the waterfall. Maybe it was finally a troll who accompanied us in our beautiful tasting.