Whisky industry icon Billy Walker announces hand-picked single cask bottling for whisky festival in May

Boutique Scotch whisky company GlenAllachie has revealed it is releasing a special bottling exclusively at the Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival in May.

The Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival 2018 bottling is a 12-year-old single cask that was personally selected by Billy Walker, GlenAllachie’s Master Distiller.

With 1,028 50cl bottles available, the special festival release, which is bottled at cask strength, will be on sale during the festival (3-7 May) at The Whisky Shop Dufftown and the Highlander Inn, Craigellachie.

GlenAllachie Master Distiller Billy Walker

Walker, the whisky industry icon who last year led the purchase of The GlenAllachie Distillery near Aberlour in Speyside, will unveil the bottling at a series of events during the festival.

On Thursday 3 and Friday 4 May, he will host informal sessions at the Whisky Shop Dufftown from 10:30–11:30am, and then at the Highlander Inn, Craigellachie from 1–2pm.

At the free drop-in sessions, whisky fans can buy the festival bottling, have bottles signed, hear Walker’s plans for the distillery, and taste samples of the new GlenAllachie range, which is being released in June.

The festival bottling is the second release from the distillery following the six limited edition 50cl single cask bottlings, which were launched in February to mark the 50th anniversary of the distillery’s maiden production run on February 17 1968.

Walker and his business partners – Trisha Savage, who worked with him on his previous venture at the BenRiach Distillery Company, and former Inver House Distillers Managing Director Graham Stevenson – bought GlenAllachie last year from French spirits giant Pernod Ricard.

The three directors have almost 100 years’ experience in the Scotch whisky industry and plan to launch a range of premium quality yet affordable whiskies in domestic and export markets.

Walker said: “When we started the distillery, we all agreed that one of our key goals was to step away from the ‘big business’ corporate approach to whisky and have some fun releasing great whisky that we’re personally passionate about. As we’re independent and privately owned, we have the flexibility to do that and this special festival bottling is a great example of our philosophy.

“We’re fortunate to have a fantastic range of casks in the warehouses dating back to the 1970s and I personally selected this cask to showcase the GlenAllachie single malt and highlight the direction we’re taking the distillery.”

Prior to setting up GlenAllachie, Walker established his reputation as an innovator in the whisky industry during spells with Ballantine’s, Inver House and Burn Stewart before forming the BenRiach Distillery Company in 2003.

The GlenAllachie Distillery was designed by William Delme-Evans – the architect behind Jura, Macduff and Tullibardine – and was built in 1967 by Mackinlay McPherson, the distilling arm of brewers Scottish & Newcastle. It sits within a 20-acre estate and uses water sourced from Henshead Burn on the slopes of Ben Rinnes. It has four stills but unusually it also has two separate spirit safes, one for each set of stills.

The GlenAllachie Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival 2018 bottling (12yo, 58.9%, 50cl, £56) is available exclusively at The Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival, 3-7 May. www.spiritofspeyside.com

GlenAllachie Speyside bottling

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