The GlenAllachie Virgin Hungarian Oak Single Malt Scotch Review & Tasting Notes


Few people go into the spirits business intending to produce rotgut and shlock. Most have a mission to create quality liquors that people will enjoy. However, seeing a distillery go that “extra mile” to ensure things are done right is refreshing. With whisky it involves choosing quality grains, using only the best water, growing the right yeast, selecting the finest oak barrels, properly proofing, and, of course, allowing adequate time for maturation.


There are other steps in between that can lead to a better whisky, and one of those is allowing time for fermentation.    


“With the capacity to produce four million litres of alcohol (LOA) per annum, we made the decision to reduce our output to one million LOA in order to place the emphasis solely on spirit quality.

By slowing down production, we now have the luxury of time, allowing for a lengthy fermentation period of 160 hours, around triple the industry average. This move has enabled us to create a more complex, flavourful distillate.”The GlenAllachie


The GlenAllachie is a Speyside distillery that was founded in 1967. That’s still considered a wee lad compared to most of the others. Billy Walker is its current Master Blender.


The GlenAllachie launched its Virgin Oak series in 2020 with three 12-year-old whiskies aged in Spanish, French, and chinquapin casks. It has since expanded the series twice to now include 8-Year Scottish Virgin Oak, 10-Year Spanish Virgin Oak, and 7-Year Hungarian Virgin Oak.   


Today, we’re exploring the Hungarian single malt expression. It begins like all Scottish single malts – the mash is 100% malted barley. It fully matured in former Bourbon barrels for seven years, followed by an 18-month nap in new toasted, medium-charred oak barrels originating from the ZemplĂ©n forest in the mountains of northeast Hungary.


Hungarian oak is attractive because the trees grow in rocky, volcanic soil at higher altitudes and colder climates. A lot of science is involved; just know that it results in slow growth and very tight grain.


A 700ml of this Scotch is packaged at 48% ABV (96°) and has a suggested price of $95.00. It is naturally colored and non-chill filtered.


Before I dive deep into Virgin Hungarian Oak, I must thank ImpEx Beverages, the exclusive US distributor of The GlenAllachie, for providing me with a sample in exchange for my no-strings-attached, honest review. Let's #DrinkCurious, shall we?


Appearance: I sipped this single malt neat from my Glencairn glass. Inside, the whisky presented as a brilliant golden liquid. It created a medium rim that released a slow curtain of wavy tears.


Nose: The aroma included smells of lemon curd, pears, apples, malt, and chocolate. Drawing the vapor into my mouth added more lemon curd.


Palate: The creamy texture led to a warming sensation on my tongue. Flavors of mild clove, chocolate, and brown sugar formed the front, while lemon zest, crisp pears, and honey at mid-palate. The back was spicy with ginger, oak, and cinnamon.


Finish: Tastes of ginger spice, oak, clove, and chocolate remained, with lemon zest at the very end. Overall, it was a long-lasting finish. Again, my tongue retained a bit of sizzle.


Bottle, Bar, or Bust: I’ve had whiskies finished in Hungarian oak. I don’t believe any were virgin Hungarian oak; most were former Tokoji wine casks. This was a spicy Scotch with three distinctive layers; there was not a smooth transition from front to middle to back. Instead, they dead-end stopped in each zone. Yet, it was enjoyable, and I’d go far enough to describe it as a fun experience. I’d be thrilled to have a Bottle in my whiskey library. Cheers!


My Simple, Easy-to-Understand Rating System

  • Bottle = Buy It
  • Bar = Try It
  • Bust = Leave It


Whiskeyfellow encourages you to enjoy your whiskey as you see fit but begs you to do so responsibly.