GlenDronach Single Cask – Multiple

So I have this bad habit of going overboard on things and hoarding stuff. This year I’ve been doing my best to attempt to get through a backlog that I’m now calling “silly”, which includes quite a few series.

Which brings us to GlenDronach single casks. A while ago someone mentioned it wasn’t a vertical unless it went through an unbroken sequence of whiskies starting with the youngest to the oldest. I had originally planned on getting one GlenDronach Single Cask of each possible age. Yet I missed a key element.

What I missed out on is there’re some differences when it comes to GlenDronach’s single cask line. Yes, it’s similar to others in that these are all single casks, all unique, all having a vintage and an age and typically being from an ex-sherry cask or having an ex-sherry finish. There’s a set number of bottles. However, there are differences:

First up there’re the standard ones that are released as part of a batch set, so doing a vertical of multiple batches was silly and not too forward thinking on my part. Turns out my original plan would have been quite difficult.

Second up, in addition to these batch releases, they are still releasing single bottles to various stores or regions. Thus we have single casks that are part of batches and single casks that are not.

Add in that they use and point out both Oloroso and Pedro Ximénez sherry casks, as well as Virgin oak casks and Port Pipes, and we have a bit of a completionist’s nightmare. Or a rich person’s hobby.

Thus I finally pulled the trigger on reviewing these. So let’s see how this collection does, shall we?


GlenDronach 12 2003 Single Cask

Price: N/A at the LCBO

Region: Highland

Cask: 934

Cask Type: Pedro Ximénez Sherry Puncheon Finish

Batch: 12

Vintage: 07.02.2003

Bottled: 08.2015

Number of Bottles: 714

Abv: 53.7%

Colour: 5YR 5/10

Nose: Almond/cherry, lime zest, lots of funk, crabapple

Initial lighter almond and cherry on this and then… Holy damn, that’s a lot of funk (said the white guy walking into a concert in the early 70s).

Hard to get past the funk on the nose, but I really like it so I’m all okay. Blind I’d think the nose was a Glenburgie or even some kind of weird Springbank thing. Very nice.

Taste: Funk, chocolate covered cherries, raisin, Demerara sugar

More funk, and then a lovely chocolate flavour. Which is interesting, as I always thought that it was the slight peat that gave these the chocolate. Oh well, wrong again. Happily.

Water brings out more molasses and lovely times.

Finish: Cranberry, light blue cheese, dried cherries, molasses, light ginger

Oak and more funk here. It’s like a really good blue cheese. Which I’m happy about, as I’m the person who eats the blue cheese like the chocolate bar.

I don’t know why I used “the” there multiple times, but that’s life.

Amazing mixture of red fruits, good molasses element, and that amazing funk.

Conclusion: Funky, spritey dram. This is what I reach for when I want a good young dram. It’s ballsy, and any “rough” spots have been turned into gold. Pure gold Jerry.

That’s a quote from an old show that probably stopped before most of my readers were out of diapers. I’m old.

Big funk is the key to this dram. Don’t like funk? Don’t get this whisky. Don’t drink it. Do like that? Buy a bottle.

85/100


Thanks to /u/throzen for the sample.

GlenDronach 16 1996 Single Cask

Price: N/A at the LCBO

Region: Highland

Cask: 1496

Cask Type: Pedro Ximénez Sherry Puncheon

Vintage: 23.02.1996

Bottled: 08.2012

Number of Bottles: 497

Bottled for Wine and Beyond

Abv: 54%

Colour: 2.5YR 1/4

Nose: Raisin, brown sugar, peanuts, oak, lime pudding

Nice raisin and brown sugar here. It’s pretty standard for a sherry, cask strength whisky. Where it differs slightly is the nuttiness is lighter on this one than others. Could be just some of the oak here.

Water makes it different. A cream, acidic note of lime pops up here, which I categorize as lime pudding as I don’t know what Peter Pan syndrome is.

Taste: Raisin, vanilla, anise, pine, cornbread, cashews

Raisin takes over here, along with the spice. There’s some younger aspect to this one. Water makes it better with more of a cornbread (savoury) and nuttiness (stronger then the nose) element popping up.

Finish: Oak/tea, cloves, honeydew melon, alcohol, plum, straw, orange chocolate

Very tannic and spicy at first.

With water, I enjoy the orange chocolate and cereal/almost farmyard note. Without water? It’s a tannic sherry bomb filled with alcohol notes. Needs more time in a cask.

Conclusion: Little more time would have been beneficial. It’s a bit of a sherry bomb, though not quite there. All in all, this needs work. Water/an open cask definitely helps it be an interesting dram. That amps up the score, in this case, more than it should.

To put it numerically: Without water, this would be a 79. With water, it’s an 84. When the wind is from the north, Gondor will be saved.

81/100


Thanks to /u/LetThereBeR0ck for the sample.

GlenDronach 17 1996 Single Cask

Price: N/A at the LCBO

Region: Highland

Cask: 1491

Cask Type: Pedro Ximénez Sherry

Vintage: 16.02.1996

Bottled: 07.2013

Number of Bottles: 643

Bottled for USA Exclusive

Abv: 53.2%

Colour: 2.5YR 1/3

Nose: Gingerbread, sour cream icing, cinnamon syrup, black cherry

The nose here is sweets and spices. More spices then sweets, with just a bit of sour aspects. Some creaminess, but really the spice is the main part.

Taste: Cinnamon toast, cranberry pop, almond, plum, floral, cocoa

Initial thought: Wow, they’ve taken the cereal and spice and the fruit/oak and made a diabetic’s breakfast.

Water brings out more floral/nuttiness, and even some cocoa. Which I don’t know where that comes from after the 12 has broken my brain.

Finish: Butterscotch, gingersnaps, grassy, caramel, violets, honeydew

If you, like me, sometimes are annoyed at a lack of “staple whisky flavours”, and here that’s caramel, over and over again, with some butter.

That’s not to say it lets up on the well-developed cereal and spice aspects. Lovely finish that doesn’t scream “too much sherry”.

Conclusion: Solid whisky. It’s not hitting a sherry bomb level, which some love and some don’t like. It’s more balanced, has some developed flavours, and that wonderful gingerbread flavour stays with you throughout.

It’s definitely a winter dram, though

it’s good enough that I’m not waiting for the snow to drink this. It has sweets and floral aspects, red fruits and oak, and even a good, less sherry dominant finish.

86/100


GlenDronach 18 1996 Single Cask

Price: N/A at the LCBO

Region: Highland

Cask: 244

Cask Type: Oloroso Sherry Butt

Batch: 11

Vintage: 23.02.1996

Bottled: 11.2014

Number of Bottles: 399

Abv: 56.9%

Colour: 5YR 3/8

Nose: Fruitcake, peanut, basil

Lighter nose. Takes a while to pick up anything, and eventually, I start getting this cooked fruit and nuttiness. And water doesn’t really change that.

Time doesn’t either. I’m even wondering why I put down peanut as Fruitcake has a nuttiness to it. I mean, fruit cake is pretty complicated (from the “How it’s Made” episode I saw), but it’s a tad odd to just sit there saying the same flavour over and over.

Taste: Cola, lemon-lime soda, ginger, butter, grape

Lots of sweet, sugary, people killing corn syrup on the taste. Eventually some spice, butter, and grape come out with water.

Simple, in other words.

Finish: Peanut, brine, strawberry, cereal, ginger, cloves

The finish feels like it’s 3 inches too short, which, like my love life, is a problem.

If some of this was on the nose or the taste, it’d be equivalent to other single casks in this large group of whiskies. It’s sweet and salty, however no real rich notes.

Conclusion: Muted. Not as bad as the movie “Mute”, but I doubt a whisky will ever be that bad. That movie really was poor.

It’s nutty. Probably the nuttiest there is. I should be blown away by something completely different. I tried water with it. I tried more time. I tried angering Shiva. Nothing worked to help it out. So as I’ve said before, this needed more time in the cask. Because even after 18 years, it’s not doing it for me.

76/100


Thanks to /u/devoz for the sample.

GlenDronach 19 1995 Single Cask

Price: N/A at the LCBO

Region: Highland

Cask: 538

Cask Type: Pedro Ximénez Sherry Puncheon

Batch: 11

Vintage: 18.10.1995

Bottled: 11.2014

Number of Bottles: 708

Abv: 55%

Colour: 2.5YR 3/8

Nose: Lemon loaf, mint, cherries jubilee, peach pie

So I’m a bit worried after the last one that anything is going to be strong. So I took a bit longer on the nose here.

Also, I love lemon loaf. I don’t really know why. I’m not a lemon fan normally. But goddamn this is lemon loaf and mint and these fruit desserts. It’s strong. Water added more complex desserts.

Taste: Strawberry pie, caramel, crabapple, lemon, ginger syrup

So two thoughts here: First off, Strawberry Pie is pretty complex. There’s sugar, strawberry, brown butter, cooked flour, etc. That’s impressive. Second: I don’t like it. I look at it and I’m so bourgie as fuck when I see it. I normally love every single thing in a diner except it.

So yeah, there’s some light red fruit, oak influences. I liked it with water as that kept the super sweet aspects while being spicy.

Finish: Caramel, cloves, brown butter, lemongrass, lime

And again, we have a stable, balance, long finish. Any issues I had with too much sherry, or odd light aspects, are gone. We have pure whisky goodness at the end.

Yes, you may want more sherry. And for that, you go now and find one of these other single casks.

Conclusion: The finish was the most balanced, long, and nicest part of the whole thing. I really, really enjoyed the whole thing, but let’s be honest, the best part is that and we should all be happy about it.

Yes, I’m biased because I don’t like red diabetes pie. And call it that. And I personally am not the biggest fan of when a whisky gets that light aspect going on with the sherry. But here the finish won me over, and overall the whole thing was fun to sip.

84/100


Thanks to /u/lasidar for the sample.

GlenDronach 20 1993 Single Cask

Price: N/A at the LCBO

Region: Highland

Cask: 1625

Cask Type: Oloroso sherry butt

Vintage: 24.09.1993

Bottled: 06.2014

Number of Bottles: 498

Bottled for Kensington Wine Market

Abv: 57.5%

Colour: 10R 2/6

Nose: Orange cake, papaya, anise, strawberry syrup

Lots of orange on the nose. This is probably a good time to note I’m not the biggest fan of orange. Or Oloroso sherry casks.

That said, we ended up with more tropical and rich red fruit notes here. Water makes it sweeter and a little less complex.

Taste: Cinnamon, orange-cranberry juice, brown sugar, cherry/almond

Alright, so on the one side, we end up with some spice. And spice is nice. Also, water brings out a cherry and almond flavour that I’m a fan of.

On the other side, that orange/oak influence is strong here. So that’s still pulling me down. It’s interesting. I like a tequila sunrise as much as the next person so I can roll with it.

Finish: Mulled cider, gingerbread, orange pop, caramel, dry apple

Nice apology from the finish. Not like a fake one or something sad, more like it really means it. Lots of spice and apple, the orange is sweeter and effervescent, and pretty much everything works well together, like that one group at work that management will eventually break up.

Not bitter. Me and the dram.

Conclusion: Had trouble rating this one. My bias against Oloroso casks is showing. By bias against Oranges is showing. I already made a “Fuck Florida” joke recently, so let’s move on.

The nose was light and orange cake was a bit dominant. The taste works on that with some rounding out with red fruit and more sugar. The finish finally admits its faults like it’s on a 12 step principle and wins me over. Water has varying effects. I don’t think it helps the nose, it does help the taste, and it makes the finish drier.

Try before you buy. You may like this a lot more than me.

83/100


Thanks to /u/normallyonimgur  for the sample.

GlenDronach 21 1993 Single Cask

Price: N/A at the LCBO

Region: Highland

Cask: 23

Cask Type: Oloroso sherry butt

Vintage: 15.01.1993

Bottled: 10.2014

Number of Bottles: 681

Bottled for Whiskybase.com

Abv: 52.1%

Colour: 2.5YR 3.8

Nose: Cranberry candle, pear tart, sunflowers, cherry juice

Right out the gate, this has a strong, almost fake cranberry nose. That’s not me bashing on this. Cranberries typically need to be at the marsh amount to have a smell. This takes that woody, nutty flavour and amps it up.

Pretty strong aroma. Interesting seed aspects, like being at a ball game, but without the sweat, or the sunscreen.

Taste: Cherry juice, dry cider, butter, grape jelly, orange spice cake

So I spend most of the last review telling you how I don’t like orange. This one doesn’t start with orange or blast orange. So while I’m still not the biggest fan, there’s spice and cherry, and even some butter to make it up to me, like a lasagna at the end of the day.

Finish: Cloves, baked apples, walnuts, grape jus, algae, buttered mushroom

Long finish. Well put together.

Also, I don’t mean Grape juice. I mean a gravy that is grape-based. It’s… odd. I made it one year for Xmas. Worked well with the pork.

I guess that’s what this is. It finishes with so many things that would work with pork chops. Or a crown roast of pork. I don’t judge, you eat how much pork as you want.

Conclusion: I feel a little silly saying this is the best, as it’s oldest. But it is. And that surprises me because of my bias. However, this has a complex, interesting, unique nose. A great, well put together taste. And finishes with this boatload of flavours that all work together.

I can’t really complain. All of it is complex, there are few drams like it, and nothing goes crazy or something or contradicts the dram. So yeah, this is amazing, and you should have bought it.

My word is these not helpful.

87/100

Scotch reviews #916-922, Highland reviews #141-147, Whisky Network reviews #1466-1472

3 thoughts on “GlenDronach Single Cask – Multiple

    1. It happens. We just move onto a different brand when the prices increase too much. Frankly the newer batches haven’t had the same value or quality level, so they’ve made it easier to do so.

      Like

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