The GlenAllachie Distillers Company is toasting its first anniversary with the launch of MacNair’s Lum Reek, a range of peated Blended Malt Scotch whiskies that revive a traditional brand with contemporary twist.
The MacNair’s Lum Reek range, which comprises a non-age statement, 12-year-old and 21-year-old, is a combination of peated Islay and peated Speyside malt blended together with older GlenAllachie. It has been matured at The GlenAllachie Distillery near Aberlour in Speyside and vatted by Master Distiller Billy Walker, one of the most respected blenders in Scotland. All are bottled at natural colour, non-chill filtered and 46% ABV and above.
The release celebrates a busy and successful first 12 months at GlenAllachie for Walker and his business partners Graham Stevenson and Trisha Savage who bought the distillery in October 2017, in a deal which also included the MacNair’s and White Heather blends.
In February, Walker unveiled his first release, a batch of six single cask bottlings. This was followed by a special bottling for the Speyside Whisky Festival in May; and the launch in July of the flagship GlenAllachie single malt range.
GlenAllachie is now distributed to more than 30 markets worldwide and during its first year a total of 611,509 standard litres of alcohol have been produced and 87,944 peated litres of alcohol. The distillery has also added two new warehouses and increased its staff from 7 to 17 employees.
The new Lum Reek peated whiskies are inspired by the famous Scottish toast ‘lang may yer lum reek’, which literally means ‘long may your chimney smoke’ and is used to wish someone a long life and prosperity. The whiskies are also inspired by the creative spirit of Glaswegian expert distiller and blender, Harvey MacNair who founded the original company in 1837.
The Victorian distiller is said to have stumbled serendipitously across a love for smoky whisky after drinking a dram in an old stone bothy near GlenAllachie. Due to a blocked chimney (or lum) the room filled with smoke, with MacNair reporting it had “a transformative effect on my dram”.
All three whiskies in the range reflect Walker’s vast experience as a blender, his creative skills and his expert knowledge of wood management.
The non-age statement (46%) combines whiskies matured in first fill Bourbon, Oloroso, Virgin Oak and Red Wine casks to produce a rich golden spirit distinguished by a full-bodied peat reek, and notes of vanilla, barley sugar and sweet spices.
The 12-year-old (46%) is similarly smoky with its peat reek and heather notes, intermingling with butterscotch and toffee notes. The whiskies were drawn from first fill Bourbon, Red Wine and Pedro Ximenez casks.
The 21-year-old (48%), which has aged in Oloroso, Virgin Oak and Red Wine casks, is described as ‘aristocratic’ with a sophisticated taste of tobacco, leather and peat reek along with the sweetness of cocoa, vanilla, honey.
Walker said: “It’s been an amazing year and journey so far and we wanted to mark the anniversary with something truly special. With the MacNair’s range, we’ve re-created the peated whiskies of 100 years ago for the modern-day palette.
“I’m a passionate believer in the qualities of Blended Malt Scotch whisky; if you have high quality component whiskies, as we fortunately do, and combine them with a first-class wood management policy and a creative spirit, you can produce a dram to rival the very best single malts.”