Sunday, 11 January 2015

Chapter 7 Allt-a-Bhainne 1995 & Glen Keith 1997

A Tasty Dram whisky blog tasting notes


Two Spey or too Spey?

The Swiss Chapter 7 is a new independent bottler storming the European market with single cask whiskies from Scotland. And it seems they are specialising in whiskies matured in ex-bourbon casks from Speyside region.

Chapter 7 honours its roots with the bottle and packaging design. The black bottles with excellent typography and minimal design - in fact, the typography is the design - hint to the Swiss graphic design style.

At the moment we can already enjoy 4 single casks: A 1995 Allt-a-Bhainne, a 1997 Glen Keith, a 1995 Tormore and a 1996 Glentauchers. All of them are already available through Jurgen's Whiskyhuis who imports them in Belgium. Two of these already landed on my tasting table and made it to my notebook. Let's have a sniff and a taste of the Glen Keith and the Allt-a-Bhainne.

Identity Card Allt-a-Bhainne 1995

Chapter 7 Allt-a-Bhainne 1995 & Glen Keith 1997
  • 18 years old
  • 59.2% ABV
  • cask #166300 | 264 bottles
  • ex-bourbon hogshead
Colour: The Allt-a-Bhainne has a classic golden colour and leaves thin, but slow legs on the glass.

Nose: This one has a very intriguing nose. Despite the high ABV the nose is surprisingly soft at first. The alcohol sting arrives after a few seconds. The nose offers a lot of spices, oranges and roasted nuts. Some cinnamon- and sugarpastries with vanilla and apricot filling. And an occasional whiff of Martini Fiero and orange rind.

A small dash of water even made it more interesting. It added some farmy notes to the dram and released a hint of cacao.

Taste: Now the  high ABV is talking! The first mouthfeel is hefty, oily and warming. This Allt-a-Bhainne has lots of spices and sweetness in abundance. Sweet pears, nuts with a thin layer of honey and gingerbread.

Water creates a fair amount of Scottish mist in the glass and makes it buttery. Good old fashioned butter cake with apricots and pumpkin jam. Young grapes, orange marmelade and oak provide some tasty bitterness.

Finish: The spicy aftertaste lingers for a long time in the mouth with some citrus peel. Very Grappa-like.

Chapter 7 Allt-a-Bhainne 1995

Glen Keith 1997

Chapter 7 Allt-a-Bhainne 1995 & Glen Keith 1997
  • 17 years old
  • 52.3% ABV
  • cask #72627 | 309 bottles
  • ex-bourbon hogshead

Colour: 17 years old and still as fresh as light yellow primroses in springtime. On sight, this Glen Keith from Chapter 7 could easily be mistaken for a much younger whisky. This pale Pinot Grigio coloured dram leaves thin and fast legs on the glass.

Nose: Almonds and marzipan are the dominant flavours, accompagnied by something strange and surprising. Maybe my mind is playing tricks on me, but I would have sworn to notice some Emmental cheese (from Switzerland, hence my suspicion) in it. A light alcohol sting makes room for juicy yellow apples, raisins and banana filling for cupcakes. Slightly drying wood scents with coconut and menthol.

Water makes it cloudy, just like the Allt-a-Bhainne. The banana filling comes to the front with unsweetened applesauce and malt biscuits.

Taste: A creamy, yet spicy mouthfeel. Sweet apples with vanilla custard.

A small, but necessary, splash of water gives you a peppery wake-up call and treats you with wood shavings and the maltiness from pilsner beers. Sweet peanuts and aromatic pear syrup infused with clove.

Finish: A long sweet aftertaste with plenty of wood and menthol. Aniseed candy and creamy peanutbutter.

Chapter 7 Glen Keith 1997


Conclusion

Impossible to pick a real winner from the Swiss - Scottish duel. The spicy Allt-a-Bhainne is an excellent winter dram, while the fruity Glen Keith prepares you for spring. Two Speyside whiskies, both matured in ex-bourbon casks, yet as different as Arnold and Danny in Twins.

Chapter 7 Glen Keith and Allt-a-Bhainne


The 1995 Allt-a-Bhainne costs €108 at Jurgen's Whiskyhuis. The 1997 Glen Keith sets you back €91 at the same shop. The choice is all yours...

Disclosure: The samples were sent to me by Chapter 7 for participating in their Facebook competition.

More information: Chapter 7
Bottle pictures: Whiskybase.com and Chapter 7.
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