Glendronach: Allardice 18 year (Scottish Speyside Single Malt Whisky: 18 Year: 46% ABV)

Visual: Dark bronze to copper red.

Viscosity: A few fast and thin streaks followed by medium speed and size drops.

Nose: Butterscotch. Pencil shavings. Rum and raisin. Very smooth. Shortbread. Water brings out grain fields and more biscuits.

Body: Butterscotch. Bailies. Moderate oak pushing through. Much smoother with water. Slight sulphur. More butterscotch and a slightly obscured chocolate element. Spiced red grapes and occasionally an unexpected amount of white grapes.

Finish: Brown bread and charring. Quite dry. Water adds chocolate, oak and spiced red grapes.

Conclusion: This was a bit different to what I expected.  To the eye it is very obviously a sherried whisky, it wears its ageing on its sleeve. The aroma is very smooth and easy going which led to quite a surprise on first sip when you get a real booming oak that initially takes precedence over other flavours. The body however has this lovely butterscotch that runs straight through it once you get past that initial shock.

Despite the lovely aroma, the sheer hit of the oak led me to experiment early with water for this one. This freed it up slightly and allowed more of the expected spiced fruits to merge in with the butterscotch.  Here it starts to play with the flavours and become more the whisky I expected. There is still maybe a bit too much oak in the finish but a muted chocolate element that comes out helps with that.

The adding of water does require the sacrifice of the aroma though, it weakens significantly with even a few drops.  Since the aroma is so amazingly smooth and spicy I would advise taking as long as you can before that first sip. Just enjoy letting the aroma roam, then when you have finally succumbed and taken that first sip you can freely add water to taste without having missed out on the aroma experience.

A smooth whisky, but with spice and an underlying oak strength keep sit from being easy sipping. Instead you find whisky that you have to take your time with.

So to conclude, a spicy expression, but with butterscotch workings making it more than that. It’s not perfect, but it does work well as a darker fruited whisky that is well worth sampling.

Background: Glendronach, or GlenDronach as seems to be the tradition of capitalising it, is a whisky I have so far only tried rarely. Mainly from the 31 year version I tried at a whisky show. So I thought it was time to try something closest to a normal expression. Found at The Rummer Hotel this 18 year old version has spent it’s time in Oloroso Sherry casks.  Apparently the distillery is a category B listed building, which, considering how picturesque many distilleries are, should not be surprising.  The name allardice seems to come from James Allardice, the founder of Glendronach.