Perhaps best known for its most unintuitive Gaelic pronunciation [oltah-vain], Allt-a-Bhainne – meaning ‘burn of milk’ – has stood at the foot of Ben Rinnes in Speyside since 1975. Built by its owners, Chivas, its role is to produce a single malt of a particular type for the use in blended whisky. Braeval, its sister distillery (formally Braes of Glenlivet), was built at the same time during ongoing efforts to improve the company’s wider blending program.
Allt-a-Bhainne has scarcely enjoyed a faultless reputation over its relatively short life. In fact, the distillery’s rugged façade and grumpy architecture give its whisky a fairly unromantic perception from the outset, and some of the whiskies from its first decade of production are a little off-the-mark here and there.
This is a real shame, as we have latterly found that the distillery has really found its feet, with vintages consistently displaying amazing texture and flavor. Allt-a-Bhainne is not often the most complex single malt in a lineup, but for those who enjoy a somewhat sweet and textured whisky, it’s a champion. ‘Burn of milk’ – a sweet, creamy specialist.