I am interested now if other nice Glenallachie are out there and bought these two bottles for a head-to-head tasting: This 23-years old (Japan only) "Small Batch" release (SM) for 98 Euro and another 23-years old "Authentic Collection" (AC, WB id 83523) for 103,50 Euro, both distilled in 1992.
Oops, both drams are really good and I will certainly put Glenallachie on my watchlist from now on... While the AC is a nice dram to sip both pre- and after dinner the SM is simply great (according to my taste buds). It is not just dangerously quaffable but interesting to explore too - a flabbergasting surprise!
The AC is pale gold while the SM is surprisingly dark for a bourbon hogshead at burnished. The AC shows a texture of a few slow legs and very late small tears while the SM offers more slow legs and many fat sticky tears. So the oiliness of both drams is good with the SM looking almost great.
The AC offers a rich and quite complex grassy-nutty-honey profile that is very fresh and nicely balanced. I like it! But the SM counters this with a superb summer floral-herbal-spicy profile with firm wooden aromas that I like too. Both are quite different but really good and I go for a draw.
The SM offers a multi-layered flavours profile that is centered around fruits, spices, barley sugars and some herbs (in the background). Really delicious, I can chew this for minutes. The AC is quite rich on the palate too with honey, nuts and spices. A real nice one but it has no chance against the great SM taste. Nevertheless I like the AC too, no doubt.
Some drops of water open the nose of the SM further (now it is better than the AC) and smoothen the taste, actually I like it that way even more. With the AC the water releases some (minor) cheesy aromas both in the nose and on the palate that I do not like so this is best when neat.
The AC arrives warming and coating on the palate with a slight astringent feeling (papers). The SM is even better and instantly coats all of the mouth with no bitter-drying-astringent moments at all, this is one of the best mouthfeel I had for a long time - superb!
Both show a long finish that vanishes nicely in several waves. The AC adds some fine chocolatey flavours to its profile without any bitter or drying notes. The SM offers some chocolate too but adds many more aromas (find out about this yourself, it is really good!). Again the SM is better but the AC is very good, too.