Glendronach

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

ABV
~55%
Aging
Oloroso and PX Casks
Recipe
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: Glendronach 1994 Single Cask Single Malt Scotch Whisky by Jason Hambrey

ABV
54.9%
Aging
17 years; Oloroso Sherry Cask
Recipe
100% Malted Barley
Distiller Glendronach (Forgue by Huntly, Scotland)

Glendronach bottles some absolutely terrific single casks - when you can find them. They used to be easier to get, and cheaper - but so it goes.


Review (2017)

  • Batch: Cask 1503. Bottle541/671

  • Bottling Code: 11/11/1994. 08/2012. 17 Years

  • Bottling Date: 2012

The nose is brilliant. Spicy, woody, dense, dred rose petals, and spicecake. Lots of sherry.  The palate is lightly tart, with slight earthy peat, lots of sherry, rancio, nuts, dried fruit, oak…and it is big. Hmm…some nice cacao too and a brilliant finish full of nuts, spices, and dried fruit. I think that actually covers most of it – but what makes this a great whisky is that all of the notes are within themselves quite complex and deep, making for quite a terrific whisky. Brilliant dryness on the finish.

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

Value: Low, based on $200. However, if you are all about this style - old, cask strength sherried scotch that has good depth this is a decent buy.


Review: Glendronach Revival 15 Years Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky by Jason Hambrey

ABV
46%
Aging
15 years; Oloroso Casks
Recipe
100% Malted Barley
Distiller Glendronach (Forgue by Huntly, Scotland)

This whisky was the first release when GlenDronach passed on to new owners, BenRiach. It is aged exclusively in Oloroso sherry casks - it's always nice to come across whiskies that have lived their whole lives in sherry casks. Lots of love for this whisky, generally (by my whisky friends at least!). Also non-chill filtered and natural colour.


Review (2017)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: 2016

A beautiful nose, full of cinnamon, oak, sherry, and freshly baking bread. Some of the winey notes are much like a full bodied Cabernet Sauvignon. The palate leads on with dense malt loaf, sherry, and loads of cinnamon. The finish continues – very spice heavy and lots of sherry still. Slightly tart, too. The earthiness fits in brilliantly, too – quite an earthy spirit which highlights different parts of all the date and raisin notes. Very pleasant stuff. I hear very high praise for this stuff, consistently, so I’m surprised I didn’t like it more than I did – maybe it’s a dud sample.

Recommended (81% of whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher).

Value: Average, at $110.


Review: Glendronach 12 Year Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky by Jason Hambrey

Glendronach 12 2.jpg
ABV
43%
Aging
12 years; Oloroso and PX Casks
Recipe
100% Malted Barley
Distiller Glendronach (Forgue by Huntly, Scotland)

Glendronach, a Speyside distillery, was founded in 1826 by James Alardice. It is named after the source of water from which the distillery draws its stock– dronach burn is the source of water. The name “dronach” means “brambles”, so the distillery name itself translates to the valley of brambles. Generally, the production of Glendronach whiskies are of high quality, relatively affordable, and well presented- without colour or chill filtration. Indeed, this whisky is almost sherry coloured!


Review (2015)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: ~2013

Nose: A good chunk of sherry here, also with apple seeds, cinnamon stewed apples, baked banana, caramel, fruitcake – all with an interesting thread of peat giving an almost bbq sauce edge to this, or, perhaps, a sense of caramelized dried fruits – like if you ever roast dried apricots in the oven (say with meat). A bit bready, then there’s vanilla and lightly creamy grain which you don’t sense right away – but shortly after. Quite a rich, complex nose…but there is too much sherry and too little whisky, though the malt is not lost either. It does open up well with time, and you get a bit less sherry overload and more of the whisky coming through, partially because of the growth of the vanilla.

Taste: A lot less sherry than you expect because the nose is so full of it – instead, some strong barley before the oak and coconut takes the lead, finally all giving way to the sweet sherry and peat smoke. A bit of a spicy feel and taste! – cinnamon, clove, turmeric- on the end. The mouthfeel is good, and this works together, but I think sherry and peat are quite difficult to match well together and, overall, the components seem to dance around each other rather than dance together (but they don’t fight though) – but there’s nothing negative here. As the bottle is open and it has time to aerate the palate improves, I find, and it becomes a bit softer.

Finish: Spicy, and dry – with woody spices intriguingly held down by the sweet sherry. Vanilla, the “sauna” cedar flavour, raisins, and some dried blueberries, too, nicely woven in. A lot of sherry nuttiness and woodiness here, and the oak lingers for some time.

Quite a complex, medium-to-heavy malt. It’s quite interesting with all the different flavours that are being balanced, but there are a lot of big flavours and I’m not quite sure what the story is. Overall, a bit too much sherry and too little whisky I think. All this said, it’s still nicely put together, and well worth a go, or two, or three…

Recommended (81% of whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher).

Value: Average, at $70.