Wednesday 29 April 2015

Tasted #175 to #180: GlenDronach 12, 15, Cask Strength Batch 3, 18yo Single Cask, 22yo Single Cask and 24yo 'Grandeur'

The first time we covered GlenDronach was back in February 2014, when Martin attended the inaugural launch of The Wild Rover's "Campbell Corner Whiskey Co-Operative" (CCWC). Roll forward one year later and here we are, re-united with the graceful GlenDronach once again. As many people would attest, GlenDronach is quite well known for its heavy sherry influence, often becoming people's 'sherry-bomb' favourite, along with the Macallans, Aberlour A'bunadh and the like.

Truthfully though, over the past year, I have grown fond of sherry cask matured whiskies - notably as I find the use of sherry casks tend to add a beautiful lightness and sweetness to the final expression - a treat for any occasion. Though this isn't necessarily true in all cases, as with the Glenmorangie Taghta, which was matured in an ex-Manzanilla sherry casks and exhibited a more salty, maritime profile to the expression.

So, after hearing about GlenDronach over the year and with my curiosity on the heavy sherry influence, I jumped at the opportunity [Martin: about time!] to sit in on the GlenDronach tasting when the masterclass was announced by The Oak Barrel.

Dave Withers of The Oak Barrel, now the Distillery Manager at Archie Rose Distilling Co in Sydney introduced the GlenDronach range, only after confessing to being a big GlenDronach fan himself. 

The GlenDronach line-up on the night included:

GlenDronach 12 Year Old "Original" (43% ABV, 12yo, Highland, Scotland, $79AUD)
A rich, sweet and creamy single malt expression that has been matured in ex-PX and Oloroso sherry casks.

Colour: Dark copper

Nose: Vanilla at first, building up to some maltesers and toasted oats.

Palate: You can taste the sherry influence immediately, creamy, hints of orange rind, dried spices and cherry ripe.
Finish: The finish is reasonable, dry with a lingering toffee sweetness.

Rating (on my very non-scientific scale): 91/100. A nice and balanced expression, one that you could perhaps drink on any night of the week.

GlenDronach 15 Year Old "Revival" (43% ABV, 15yo, Highland, Scotland, $105AUD)
A deep, sweet and leathery single malt expression matured in Oloroso sherry casks.

Colour: Dark 'burnt' caramel

Nose: Loads of raisins.

Palate: The palate is rich of sultana and raisins, hint of orange peels and dried spices.
Finish: The finish is dry.

Rating (on my very non-scientific scale): 92/100.

GlenDronach Cask Strength - Batch 3 (54.9% ABV, NAS, Highland, Scotland, $160AUD)
A lovely No Age Statement expression, both on the nose and on the palate derived from the mixing of malt aged in Oloroso and PX casks.

Colour: Rich, dark caramel

Nose: Raisins and rich dark chocolate.

Palate: The palate is full of sultanas and raisins with a hint of citrus, perhaps orange peels and a note of that chocolate from the nose.
Finish: The finish is long, extremely long and dry with dried spice remnants that linger with you for a while and more. Stunning.

Rating (on my very non-scientific scale): 92/100.

GlenDronach 1995 18 Year Old Cask #3025 (51.1% ABV, 18yo, Highland, Scotland, not available in Australia)
A truly remarkable single cask expression with a concoction of sweet cocoa, spices and PX sherry. My favourite expression of the night and one for any occasion.

Colour: Dark caramel.

Nose: The nose opens to cinnamon, cloves, a hint of tobacco and after a while, there's smoked ham in there also.

Palate: There is loads of sherry on the palate, which is creamy, rich, with a coating of dried spices. The palate gradually develops to notes of raisins and sweet cocoa.
Finish: Similar to Batch 3, the finish is extremely long with lingering spices and cocoa.

Rating (on my very non-scientific scale): 93/100.

GlenDronach 1991 22 Year Old Cask #1346 (52.1% ABV, 22yo, Highland, Scotland, not available in Australia)
Loads and loads of sherry, all derived from the PX cask in which this whisky was gracefully aged.

Colour: Amber, almost with a red hue.

Nose: The nose is filled with honey notes that develop into Christmas cake, icing sugar and sweet caramel.

Palate: Loads of sherry on the palate, then there's that hint of tobacco, black peppercorn and some sweet cocoa.
Finish: The finish is dry and long leaving a nice malt on the palate and some peanut butter?!

Rating (on my very non-scientific scale): 91/100

GlenDronach 'Grandeur' 24 Year Old - Batch 5 (48.9% ABV, 24yo, Highland, Scotland, no longer available in Australia)
An old and wise GlenDronach, one of 600 bottles of this supple, soft-sherry laden expression.

Colour: Amber hue

Nose: The noes smells of cocoa, dried fruits and some tobacco.

Palate: Soft and complex that starts with dark orange chocolate, then the honey notes begin to reveal itself before leaving sweet hazelnut chocolate notes on the finish.
Finish: The finish is long and sweet, nutty with an overlay of dried spices.

Rating (on my very non-scientific scale): 92/100.

- Hendy.

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