Review: Glendronach Cask Strength Single Malt Scotch Whisky / by Jason Hambrey

Glendronach Cask Strength.jpg
Oloroso and PX Casks
100% Malted Barley
Distiller Glendronach (Forgue by Huntly, Scotland)

This is often an absoutely terrific sherry bomb, released in batches with some variation.

Review (2016)

  • Batch: 4 (54.7%)

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: 2014

Amidst all the sherry bombs I’ve been trying of late, not quite as much of a “bomb” – the oak plays in well, with good woody and vanilla notes which are balanced in well. Sherry, distinctively, comes through as well – with some nice cinnamon, raisin, currant, fruitcake, under-ripe pear, dried apple – oh, and it’s quite creamy. Slight earthiness comes through with some time. The spice sits so brilliantly alongside the sherry and the oak. On the palate, it’s quite a long drink – it develops and holds your attention for a good amount of time. The notes carry through from the nose – perhaps a bit less spicy, though cinnamon is certainly present in force – but the integration and balance remain terrific; not as hot as many would expect for 54.7%. An oaky finish, with butterscotch, sherry and dried fruit still playing second fiddle quite well. With water, it comes together very well and is remarkably integrated and soft diluted to 43%. I might even prefer this with just a drop of water (diluted to 46-48%), although there are definitely nights when all I want is this at cask strength.

Very Highly Recommended (18% of all whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher).

Value: Average, at $117.

Review (2018)

  • Batch: 5 (55.3%)

  • Bottling Code: 2015/09/17 14:11 LJ10946

  • Bottling Date: 2015

Brilliant nose. Full of a rich, green maltiness – toffee, green grass, lightly roasted malt flavours – it is surprising that it shines through so clearly on a whisky which is so sherried. Cinnamon, prune, currants, porridge, mineral notes, and some salted caramel. Without water, it just smells so strongly of oak and casks – I love it.

The palate is sweet, the malt appears a bit more roasted here. Odd – this seems to have a strong, sweet bourbon influence, like a first fill ex-bourbon cask, amidst the strong sherry. (They only mention their sherry casks on the website – oloroso and PX). It all works, and works well. Lots of roasted grain notes, with an underlying sweetness and rich European oak spices – clove, nutmeg, green cardamom.  A great earthiness underlies it all. It works really well. The finish is great too – a slight funky sulphury note on the end, but also rich caramel and vanilla and oak – awesome. Lots there - red pepper jelly, clove, currants. Oak wins out in the end, and it is a dry finish.

Highly Recommended (48% of all whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher).

Value: Low, at $150.

Review (2020)

  • Batch: 7 (57.9%)

  • Bottling Code: 2018/05/22 11:33 LL33740

  • Bottling Date: 2018

Rich dried fruit, baking bread, biscuits, light smoke, apple, figs, licorice, and oxidized wine. Very savoury – it reminds me quite a bit of reduced sherry and butter sauces. The spices are just awesome here. The palate continues – huge sherry, nut notes, cinnamon, clove, almond, baked peaches, and vanilla. The finish is loaded with dried fruit – dried orange, apricot, peaches, prunes, figs, and honey.

Balanced really well between dried fruit, rich oak, spice, and some fresh fruit.

Stunning whisky, this.
Very Highly Recommended (19% of all whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher).
Value: Average, at $130. Great stuff, but pricy…in the realm of Scotch, though, this isn’t a bad buy at all.