Tag Archive: Glendronach

Glendronach 12 Year

Glendronach: 12 Year (Scottish Speyside Single Malt Whisky:12 year: 43% ABV)

Visual: Reddened bronze.

Viscosity: Fast thick streaks.

Nose: Cherries on chocolate cake. Brandy cream. Sultanas. Vanilla fudge. Smooth. Water adds spiced orange notes.

Body: Very smooth, with a warming character. Raisins and sultanas. Plums. Lots of dark fruit. Glacier cherries and some sour cherry notes. Slight charred oak. Melted chocolate to chocolate liqueur. Water makes creamier and brings out spiced grapes.

Finish: Light oak. Raisins. Baileys. Chocolate liqueur. Slight alcohol air in a liqueur style. Water makes more baileys like but with a traditional whisky air.

Conclusion: I’m not 100% sure this whisky knows it is, in fact, a whisky. It seems to think it is a liqueur – possibly a whisky liqueur, but still a liqueur.

Now, I am not saying that as a bad thing, just as a way to try and communicate the very creamy and smooth character this thing brings to the table. Within that creamy body the emphasis is very much on the wide range of dark fruit – backed by a thematically appropriate dark chocolate and a smidgen hint of dark charred barrel. In the dark.

Despite the darkness of the flavours, the actual feel is just a tad light, but it has a lovely velvet texture and a mix of gateaux style cake experiences that are very pleasant. I actually prefer this to the 18 year old, despite the slight lightness of mouthfeel – it is less oaken and more balanced, even without water.

Speaking of water, this gains more of a traditional whisky air with water – especially floating around in the finish. Frankly it doesn’t need water, but if you miss the whisky styling then that will bring it back.

Overall, very smooth, tad light in the mouth feel but lovely dark dessert flavours helps push through that and makes it well worth while.

Background: *ahem again* “Ok, bias warning first: This is a part of the Masters Of Malt Whisky Calendar given to The Bath Whisky and Rum Club, part of Independent Spirit, who invited me to assist with the notes in return for uploading them to alcohol and aphorisms. Sounded a very fair deal to me. Also, due to this we each only had half of the 3cl bottle so thoughts are based on a smaller exploration than usual. On the other hand I could not say no to the chance to try so many new whiskies. Many thanks!”. I’ve tried some of the older expressions of Glendronach, including one that was given free to me at a whisky show for doing notes on, but never this one. Drunk while listing to the Guilty Gear soundtrack.

EDIT: Odd – Most of the books I have list this as Speyside, yet most shops online, the label and wikipedia call it highland whisky. I’ll go with the Michael Jackson book for now and leave it as Speyside but shall investigate.

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.

Glendronach Grandeur (Scottish Speyside Single Malt Whisky: Sherry Cask: 31 Years: 45.8% ABV)

(Note: Due to being tried at the whisky show, these were smaller measures done in a packed and friendly social environment, so are not as full notes as normal, however the chance to tasting note such a range of high quality whiskies was not to be missed)

Visual: Very dark sherry red amber. Very rich and inviting.

Viscosity: Very slow and thin puckering.

Nose: Surprisingly floral for the colour, with light wheat and lime, hint of raisin and other dried and sherried fruit. Slightly dusty

Body: Slick textured, the flavour of the  first sip is nigh lost in the shock of how smooth the feel is.  Second sip brings toffee and vanilla a slight malt like edge. Shortbread dryness gives the needed back to a custard like element. Very sweet.

Finish: The sweetness lightens with raisins and light chocolate. Slight dusty then into a familiar bitter chocolate until just bitter touches remain.

Conclusion: A very sweet and smooth whisky.  The body is remarkable in being possibly the smoothest textures whisky I have tried.  Very well balanced, and shares a similar chocolate finish to the Dalmore 40 I was comparing it directly against, though this is not quite so creamy.

The huge advantage this spirit brings is that mentioned smooth as silk body.  The texture gives it a soothing feel so you are never competing with it to find the flavours.  That said the finish couldn’t quite manage the luxury feel to the same extent.

Due to a bit of friendly rivalry between the two stands this was going head to head with the Dalmore 40, and the Damore wins on the nose easily, however unlike the slightly weaker body of the Dalmore this is the real deal.  A wonderful counter, and for all they were in competition I found they complement each other better than they fight.

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