White Heather is the revived brand of blended Scotch whisky, discontinued in the 1980s but brought back by Billy Walker and The GlenAllachie a few months ago.
To create the top expression White Heather 21 Years, Walker sourced single malt whisky from Speyside (23%, GlenAllachie I presume), the Highlands (20%) and Islay (4%). This was combined with 53% grain whisky.
The spirit spent 18 years in a combination of first-fill American barrels, sherry butts and second fill casks. The married composition was then given an additional three years in PX and Oloroso puncheons alongside Appalachian virgin oak casks.
White Heather 21 yo (48%, OB 2021, 2000 btl.)
Nose: a typical Walker fingerprint, I’d say. The dark sherry on one side and the virgin oak on the other side are probably widening the blend, if you know what I mean, and certainly making it richer. It stays a little on the soft side though. Baked apples, golden raisins and subtle blackberries. Butterscotch. Light hints of fresh oak shavings, subtle herbs and heather, as well as a puff of smoke.
Mouth: a slightly docile start, with a lot of butterscotch and caramelized apples. Some brighter fruits as well, peaches, bitter oranges and sweet lemons. In a second wave it gets more grippy with some grainy notes, pepper and a dose of tannins, which lead to leafy notes, vanilla and a hint of milk chocolate in the end.
Finish: medium length, a mix of honey and oak spice with orange peel.
A quality blend. It’s harmonious, reasonably complex and it manages to hide the grain component. Originally it retailed for around € 150 but now most retailers are already asking € 200-250. Compared to other premium blends or the distillery’s own single malts I find the original price a little steep already.