So awhile ago, I picked up three samples of GlenDronach whisky.
And then I swapped a lot, cut back to two samples a week, did some other things, went on vacation, etc and promptly forgot about them, other than cracking the 12 for the community review (see link below.
So now that I’ve cut back on swapping, and it’s a new year, it’s time to finally get to the remaining GlenDronachs in this quad review.
So, GlenDronach. What’s up with them? Are they be going like others while other places be going a different way? No, and that sentence was as hard to write as it is to read.
Located in Aberdeenshire, and owned by the BenRiach distillery company. Which the giant fucking D should have given away as soon as we saw it.
Founded in 1826, and ran until 1996 when it was mothballed… for a short time, then being opened again in 2001. It’s passed hands quite a bit, being owned by Walter Scott, Charles Grant, and Teachers and Sons.
The name comes from where they draw their water, the Dronac burn, which is on distillery grounds.
So, how does it taste?
Up first, we have the GlenDronach 15 Revival. This was released to celebrate BenRiach owning the distillery, and is Matured in Oloroso sherry casks.
Just calm down, I know you love some Oloroso, but let’s not tip the waiter before the foods out just yet. We know it’s a proper Abv., it’s non chill filtered, and it’s of natural colour (which is amazing). And yes, it’s fully aged in the sherry casks.
But seriously, it’s still close to the Highlands, and I’m biased as all get out against them, so let’s wait and see, shall we?
Price: N/A in Ontario. I know, you’re so surprised.
Nose: Strawberry, plum, kiwi, nutmeg, sugary, orange rind
Well, they weren’t kidding about the sherry influence one bit. This has that grown-up fruit punch nose to it, with just the right amount of acidic notes.
Could be on the sweet side as time goes on though.
Taste: Strawberry jam, brown sugar, bubblegum, cinnamon, mango, cherry
However the taste isn’t overly sweet… to me. I once ate 12 creme caramels in one sitting though, so I may have screwed up my tastebuds with too much sugar.
I wish there was more spice. That’s a nit-pick, but an honest one at least. Otherwise it’s quite tasty.
Finish: Nutmeg, strawberry, lemon curd, brine, cucumber, mushroom
Earthy is a word that I throw around sometimes, and this is earthy. Almost sourly early in some ways. Too earthy, in fact.
Conclusion: I’d say it’s a tiny step up from the 12, however the finish isn’t doing it any favours. The strawberry/nutmeg/lemon is helping fight the good fight, though there’s quite a bit of earth there.
1001 Whiskies to taste before you die review #169
GlenDronach 15 Tawny Port Cask Finish. Woah. Calm down. Let’s just all calm down, get off the Port Finish Hype Train, take a chill pill (I prefer Celebrex), take a deep breath, maybe meditate, have a wank/twip, and just calm down.
Okay. We all good now? Great.
This is initially matured in European Oak and then finish in a small batch of Tawny Port casks. This one was launched in 2011, and it’s since been replaced (I think) by an 18 year version.
And who here hasn’t replaced a 15 year old with an 18 before? We were all young once. And that’s honestly the better way to go, because you stay out of prison more often.
And with that, I’ve cemented myself on a list somewhere.
Price: $99.60 (CAD) at the LCBO
Colour: Brown/Light Purple
Nose: Nectarine, lemon, watermelon, cranberry, cherry, anise
Tons of nectarine goodness, really juicy nose. Smells like it would be juicy. If you don’t understand, re-read my comment about 18 and 15 year olds.
Taste: Melon, smoke, anise, plum, lots of strawberry, green grapes
The Green melon, specifically. We’re no longer talking about 18 year olds, get your mind out of the gutter.
Tons of strawberry notes as well, and a nice amount of anise for me. I love Anise flavoured booze, so this is happy town for me.
Finish: Anise, pepper, woody, taro, chipotle, salami, red grapes
Good amount of spice and smoke. A nice amount of earth in here too, with some acid. I’m enjoying this more than the finish on the Revival.
Conclusion: If the 15 Revival had the finish on this one, I’d have scored it a lot higher. However the taste on this one is mostly strawberry, yet the finish has a better balance. The noses tie. It squeaks by the Revival for being that little bit better. Good dram all around.
1001 Whiskies to taste before you die review #170
GlenDronach 18 Allardice is named for the founder, who sometimes went by Allardice. Or his name was pronounced that way. Or something. I couldn’t really figure it all out. None the less, he done good, his names on the booze.
That’s how you know you’ve made it: Your name is on the booze. Of course he was long dead by the time his name was on the booze, but he still made it. Yay James Allardes.
This one is again matured in Oloroso sherry casks, but again, we don’t make assumptions just because this company is doing everything right and then some.
Okay, I do now, but I didn’t know that then, so I stand by my review.
Price: No buy in Ontario
Colour: Dark Brown
Nose: Rum cake, cinnamon, allspice, strawberry, red grapes, rhubarb, raisin
Initially smells exactly like a rum cake, with the different spices, the molasses, and the red fruits. Eventually some of those notes become dominant in the nose, and it’s really tasty.
Almost like baking yourself. Not quite setting off memories though.
Taste: Allspice, ginger, lime, paprika, brown sugar, peanut
Big ole spice punch to the jumblies, and in a good way that people have to pay a lot for. Eventually the spice subsides, and there’s a lot of nutty and molasses notes.
Finish: Cherry, grapes, ginger, nutmeg, cumin, brine, caramel
Good amount of fruit at the end, and the spices are still there. There’s a tid bit of brine and caramel that mixes well.
Conclusion: I think the nose really takes center stage on this one, so if you’re all about noses before… broses? I don’t know, I’m stressed and tired… Anyway, if you like the nose on whisky most of all, you’ll enjoy this.
If the taste and finish had been up to (or above) the nose, it’d get a lot better score. I had trouble figuring out which I liked better: The Tawny Port or this one. After ruminating on it for a few days, I think this one is that little bit better, due to the complexity and the uniqueness.
1001 Whiskies to taste before you die review #171
GlenDronach 21 Parliament.differs from the core lineup in that it’s matured in a combination of Oloroso and Pedro Ximenex sherry casks.
I know, I know, we were all excited for tons of Oloroso matured whiskies, but don’t fret just yet. This is the start of GlenDronach’s upper level portfolio, and no one ever complained about a quality 21 year old, so let’s give it the benefit of the doubt.
Price:Not Currently Available at the LCBO
Colour: Coffee with half a cream
Normally I don’t go on about the colour. Seriously, it’s there in the picture, and most of the time it’s just “oh, it’s whisky” in my mind, so I don’t pay attention to it.
But this is DARK. Like Northwest Territories Dark for 16 hours of the day dark. And it’s naturally coloured. Damn, that’s a thing of beauty.
Nose: Plum pudding with caramel, raisin, ginger, yeast, blackberry, mint, raspberry
Complex doesn’t even begin to describe this one. Exactly like a plum pudding with caramel, all served hot as balls and twice as appealing.
Taste: Raisin, Sprite, allspice, ginger, hazelnut, cocoa, older strawberries, cake
Don’t eat moldy strawberries. I think. I watched Mind of a Chef on rotting food, so I don’t know exactly anymore if you shouldn’t.
However old strawberries have that extra sweetness to them, and that’s right in here. Again, complex taste, lots of different things going on in this one.
Finish: Nutmeg, walnut, hot chocolate, raspberry jam on hot toast, yeast, hops, tannins, brown sugar
Big finish that keeps evolving as time goes on. Again it’s really complex. And while I normally don’t like too much hoppy flavour, this is the right type of hops (for me). It’s floral and adds the right amount of bitterness.
Conclusion: Parliament is in session, and, unlike where I’m from, everyone has shown up and is accounted for. Really big flavours, really nice to sip on, a beautiful dram by itself, and the taste is amazing. It comes so close to setting off memories (which is usually required to get above 85 for me) that I’m breaking that rule this one time. It’s just so complex and flavourful.
You can’t go wrong buying this one.
1001 Whiskies to taste before you die review #172
Scotch reviews #226-229, Highland reviews #39-42, Whisky network reviews #334-337