GlenDronach

   

Glendronach distillery is situated in the valley of Forgue near Huntly and was founded in 1826 by James Allardice. Shortly after, in 1830 it was taken over by Walter Scott and in the 1860's it was the Highland's highest Duty-paying distillery.

In 1920 it was sold on to Captain Charles Grant and then again to William Teacher & Sons in 1960, only to be mothballed in 1996 and then opened again in 2002 but it ceased its floor maltings.

In 2005 ownership passed to Chivas Brothers after a takeover by Pernod Ricard.

 
   

In 2008 GlenDronach once again became an independently owned distillery after being purchased by Billy Walker and his BenRiach Distillery Co. Ltd.

GlenDronach is described as a medium-sized, traditional craft-based distillery with 4 stills (2 wash, 2 spirit) and 6 warehouses, of which 3 are traditional dunnage ones.

General whisky characteristics: Rich & smooth, oak, dark fruits, nuts.

 
 

My thanks to Alan Jamieson for permission to use the distillery photographs

Some more great distillery info here, thanks to Malt Madness

 

 

 

   

Glendronach, 'Octarine' 8y, 46% ABV

Matured in bourbon & sherry casks

Typical cost of this bottle;

Reviewed as part of MMA 2012

 
 

Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Rich gold - light amber

Nose: This is very aromatic and intensifies further with time in the glass as it includes some lightly floral or perhaps even perfumed qualities, a fruitiness reminiscent of cherries, some gentle woodiness and a hint of leatheriness.

Palate: More fruity leatherines on the palate but this time the cherries are accompanied by suggestions of peaches and summer berries. There's also a light suggestion of oak to complete the cocktail.

Finish: Long and creamy with more of that fruity leatheriness.

Overall impression: I'm impressed with what is still a relatively young whisky. I especially like the fruity leatheriness.

 

   
   

Glendronach, 'Original' 12y, 43% ABV

Matured in PX & Oloroso sherry casks

Typical cost of this bottle;

Reviewed as part of MMA 2011

 
 

Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Dark oak - amber

Nose: I'm back in my country house library again with musty aged oak book shelves laden with dusty old first edition antique volumes. Then after some minutes comes slightly smoky sherry, figs and black cherries.

Palate: The palate has a creamy freshness which includes oak, dates and lightly sherried wood.

Finish: Very long sherried wood.

Overall impression: A fine sherried whisky and excellent value for money.

 

   
   

Glendronach, 'Original' 12y, 43% ABV

Matured in PX & Oloroso sherry casks

Typical cost of this bottle;

Reviewed as part of MMA 2013

 
 

Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Bright 21ct gold

Nose: Compared to the last time I tried this (above) there's something not quite right here; it's kind of stale with a few 'off' notes reminding me of cowshed and manure-ish. This eventually fades to 'woody & leathery'.

Palate: Those off notes from the nose do extend to the palate, but not quite so pronounced as I'd say the palate is just a little 'flat'.

Finish: Long.

Overall impression: I really don't know what happened here, a little stale and flat for me today. A bad batch, bottle or even just my palate?

 

   
   

Glendronach, 15y, 40% ABV

100% matured in sherry casks

Typical cost of this bottle;

 
 

Glass: Spiegelau

Colour: Rich old oak

Nose: Lovely old oak lightly polished with citrus

Palate: Raisins currants and prunes gently spread warmingly across the palate, before fading to a very light almond & marzipan aftertaste.

Finish: Medium, slightly bitter with almond and marzipan.

Overall impression: This promises plenty and just as it begins to deliver, it fades slowly away. Very pleasant, but needs a bigger, longer finish. I can't help thinking that 46% or above would make this a much better dram.

 

   
   

Glendronach, 'Revival', 15y, 46% ABV

Matured in the finest Oloroso sherry casks

Typical cost of this bottle;

 
 

Glass: Spiegelau

Colour: Dark amber

Nose: Old oak, leather and freshly polished brass. Also hints of dark fruits.

Palate: Smooth and creamy, sweet raisins, some rich nuttiness.

With 4 drops of water in about 1.5cl: A slightly more floral nose and more pronounced wood and raisins on the palate.

Finish: Very long, but slightly dry.

Overall impression: This carries on and on and on where the normal 15y (above note) fades and withers away. I like it.

 

   
   

Glendronach, 'Allardice', 18y, 46% ABV

Typical cost of this bottle;

 

Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Rich amber

Nose: Aged oak and musty books in an ancient library. Also a selection of freshly shelled nuts with the addition of plums, figs and cherries.

Palate: Green peppercorns, marzipan and coconut are intially prominent. I really wanted some of the cherries from the nose too, but they just aren't present on the palate. W
hat I did find was freshly prepared and still unbaked Christmas Cake mixture (dough).

Finish: Long and rich, slightly toasted.

Overall impression: Most enjoyable.
 

Glendronach, 'Allardice', 18y, 46% ABV

Typical cost of this bottle;

Reviewed as part of MMA 2012

Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Dark amber or even treacle toffee

Nose: Mixed nuts, currants, raisins, perhaps even prunes but there's also a hint of good old rubber wellies and something just a little 'red' too.

Palate: Initially that rich dark fruitiness from the nose dominates, but then the wellies return and just to complete the party it's all wrapped in a distinct creaminess.

Finish: Medium to long and very creamy.

Overall impression: Excellent fruitiness and that rubberiness is quite pleasant too so overall a very nice whisky.

 

   

Glendronach, 'Parliament' 21y, 48% ABV

Matured in PX & Oloroso sherry casks

Typical cost of this bottle;

Reviewed as part of MMA 2011

 
 

Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Teak

Nose: Initially hard to place as there's an element of over-riding Alpine cheese which is followed by wood, toasted vanilla and something I can only describe as pasta!

Palate: Much different to the nose as the palate immediately offers lots of rich dark fruits (think English Christmas cake or even pudding), sherry, wood and aged leather.

Finish: Long, rich and sherried

Overall impression: An excellent whisky, even with that slightly strange nose. I really like this one.

 

   

 

 

 

Glendronach, 'Cask Strength', 54.8% ABV

Batch 1

Typical cost of this bottle;

 
 

Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Intriguing dark copper

Nose: the nose immediately offers dusty fudge with a slight dryness. Somehow this reminds me of a single cask rum. After some 10 minutes in the glass the nose expands to offer something indeed quite different which, after studying it for a few more minutes I can only describe as "baked pear wrapped in marzipan and served on a bed of Weetabix with a leaf or two of fresh spearmint".

Palate:
richly fruity, abounding with figs, damson, dates and even a hint of Hoi-Sin sauce.

With 5 drops of water the nose turned more musty and nutty whilst the palate was slightly more sweet with a lightly peppered nuttiness.

A further 5 drops of water suddenly give the whisky a very maritime characteristic as it now suggests an old sea-soaked salty pier.

Finish: Long, sweet and fruity

Overall impression: A whisky which needs time and rewards when given it. Very nice.

 

   
   

Glendronach, 'Cask Strength', 55.2% ABV

Batch 2 (Oloroso & PX sherry casks)

Typical cost of this bottle;

 
 

Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Glowing amber

Nose: this develops slowly, starting with an aromatic woodiness, then expands to include a musty fruitiness and with more time the mustiness expands further.

Palate: lots of fruitiness here as I detect not only typical  dark fruits (currants, riasins, prunes) but also some summer (red) berries alongside oak and even a suggestion of milky coffee.

Finish: Very long.

Overall impression: Although it may have started slowly it developed into something quite excellent and mildly exotic. Well worth the time and patience. In fact better for it.

 

     

 

 

Single Casks

The (three) Tenners

 

 

   

Glendronach, 10y, 19.7.2002 - 7.2013, 55.3% ABV

Fresh virgin oak hogshead No. 1743, bottle No.238 of 312

Glendronach OB for Dutch Uisge Society

Typical cost of this bottle;

Reviewed as part of MMA 2013

 
 

Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Rich 21ct gold

Nose: Nicely aromatic aromas including some exotic fruitiness with mango, then some herbal elements with oregano & basil, all delightfully harmonious.

Palate: Lots more fruitiness here with that mango alongside cherries and melon with a suggestion of (very) milky coffee. Maybe even cappucino.

Finish: Very long.

Overall impression: Really very fruity in an exotic way, delightful.

 

   
   

Glendronach, 10y, 19.7.2002 - 7.2013, 52.8% ABV

PX sherry Puncheon No. 710, bottle No.77 of 665

Glendronach OB for The Whisky Fair

Typical cost of this bottle;

Reviewed as part of MMA 2013 (Winner; Best Sherried Whisky, Daily Drams category)

 
 

Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Dark oak, almost amber.

Nose: Quite slow to develop but when it does it offers a dark fruitines (mainly currants) with a faint hint of tobacco and finally some toasted or lightly scorched woodiness.

Palate: Lots of creamy chocolate, then some slightly dry, dark fruitiness. In fact it's all very rich and smooth.

Finish: Very long, rich and smooth.

Overall impression: Lovely palate after a somewhat slow to develop nose. I love the rich, smooth creaminess.

 

   
   

Glendronach, 10y, 20.6.2002 - 6.2013, 54.1% ABV

PX sherry Puncheon No. 1513, bottle No.4 of 482

Glendronach OB for TWRI (Taiwan)

Typical cost of this bottle;

Reviewed as part of MMA 2013

 
 

Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Dark amber.

Nose: A lovely mixture of lightly toasted fruitines, aromatic leather and what I can only describe as a herbal chocolate-iness.

Palate: Fruitiness remiscent of cherries and raisins alongside slightly sweet rye bread. All very nice indeed.

Finish: Very long and rich.

Overall impression: An excellent after-dinner dram, especially of accompanied by chocolate and coffee.

 

   

 

 

Single Casks

The Teens

 

 

   

Glendronach, 15y, 23.2.1996 - April 2011, 57.1% ABV

Oloroso Sherry Butt No. 233, bottle No.67 of 196

Typical cost of this bottle; to

Reviewed as part of MMA 2011

 
 

Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Teak, dark and rich.

Nose: This is very rich, but with a hint of slightly stale fishing harbour. Bilge pumps? Light rubberiness? Then come heavily sherried nuts, raisins and figs.

Palate: Lovely and rich, but slighty dry with almonds, plums, figs and freshly polished teak or oak.

Finish: Very long, slightly dry.

Overall impression: A little dryness and that fishing harbour nose still don't prevent this from being a truly excellent whisky. Lots of character!

 

   
   

Glendronach, 17y, 28.1.1994 - April 2011, 59.2% ABV

Oloroso Sherry Butt No.107, bottle No.252 of 607

Typical cost of this bottle; to

Reviewed as part of MMA 2011

 
 

Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Liquid teak, mahogany.

Nose: Aromatic traditional wax polish and rich currants marinated in marzipan (amaretto). Very rich, very succulent, very aromatic aged wood.

Palate: Smooth and creamy mouth-feel, but slighty dry at the same time. Almonds, figs, dates and black cherries all offer a deep rich fruitiness which is combined with aged oak and that wax polish.

Finish: Long, rich and voluptuous.

Overall impression: Things just get better and better. Wonderful whisky, not quite one of my 'Greats', but not far away. Delightful.

 

   
   

Glendronach, 18y, 28.1.1994 - 12.2012, 56.6% ABV

Oloroso Sherry Butt No.68, bottle No.159 of 621

Glendronach OB for Kenny Hsu - Taiwan

Typical cost of this bottle;

Reviewed as part of MMA 2013 (Winner; Best Sherried Whisky, Premium category)

 
 

Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Very dark, treacle toffee.

Nose: Very rich and lightly toasted, in fact almost scorched woodiness. Some fruitiness of plums and raisins plus a suggestion of freshly ground coffee beans.

Palate: The lightly toasted effect extends from the nose to the palate alongside lots of intense dark fruitiness. There's even a hint of those coffee beans here too. This is all very intense.

Finish: Extremely long, rich and intense.

Overall impression: This is a true heavyweight packing lots of richness and solid intensity. I love it.

 

   

 

 

Single Casks

Maturing nicely

 

 

   

Glendronach, 20y, 15.1.1993 - 8.2013, 53.6% ABV

Oloroso Sherry Butt No.4, bottle No.643 of 664

Glendronach OB for The Whisky Agency

Typical cost of this bottle;

Reviewed as part of MMA 2013

 
 

Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Dark, light treacle toffee.

Nose: Lots of toasted oak and dark fruits (mainly raisins & currants) with some very rich suggestions of freshly ground coffee beans. This is wonderfully deep and rich.

Palate: Those dark fruits certainly extend to the palate but are now accompanied by a light peppery tingle. It's all slightly dry, very intense and truly superb.

Finish: Everlasting.

Overall impression: A lovely deep nose followed by a magnificently intense palate and finish. Wonderful, stuff that dreams are made of.

 

   

 

   

Glendronach, 39y, 2.3.1972 - July 2011, 49.9% ABV

Oloroso Sherry Butt No.712, bottle No.21 of 466

Typical cost of this bottle;

Reviewed as part of MMA 2011

 
 

Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Amber with hints of mahogany

Nose: Quite different as it's obviously aged wood and sherry, but also very herbal. After some minutes this expands to include black cherries and smoky amaretto, then a lightly smoked wood which expands even further with more time.

Palate: Immediately lots of presence and character with smoky aged wood and antique leather. In fact 'antique' seems to fit this rather nicely.

Finish: Long with gently fading black cherries.

Overall impression: Never mind the cost, pour me another. A truly 'Great' whisky. Yes, I said 'Great'!

 

   
   

Glendronach, 39y, 28.2.1972 - April 2011, 49.1% ABV

Matured in PX Puncheon No. 2033, bottlle No.383 of 450

Typical cost of this bottle;

Reviewed as part of MMA 2011

 
 

Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Mahogany, very darkly so.

Nose: Rich and very aged wood, antique leather. Even beyond dark fruits it's so rich and succulent. Once again I'm transported into my country house study with all that antique leather, musty book shelves and even a hint of old brass fittings. Rich wax wood polish almost ends the delight, but not just yet as a burst of flora decides it wants to conclude the delightful experience.

Palate: Wonderfully smooth, very, very rich and aromatic wood. Engish Christmas cake with dark fruits, sherry and nuts, with a hint of lightly toasted wild mushrooms.

Finish: Long, very rich, lightly toasted.

Overall impression: Does life get any better? Not much. Another 'Great' from GlenDronach. Yes, I said it again!

 

   
 

 

Glendronach, 40y, 2.3.1972 - March 2012, 50.2% ABV

Oloroso Sherry Butt, Cask 713, for LMDW, bottlle No.219 of 476

Typical cost of this bottle;

Reviewed as part of MMA 2012

 
 

Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Dark treacle toffee with a hint of copper

Nose: Oooh something quite different or perhaps unusual here ... rich and fruity but also something intensely herbal. I'm reminded of a soft drink from the UK called Dandelion & Burdock.

Palate: I can say no other than the nose personnified with great emphasis on the intense herbal-ness.

Finish: Long, very long, very intense and a nice lightly peppery tingle.

Overall impression: Very rich, very herbal, truly excellent.

 

   
 

 

Glendronach, 40y, 25.2.1971 - Aug. 2011, 47.5% ABV

PX Sherry Puncheon, Cask 1248, for Taiwan, bottlle No.85 of 545

Typical cost of this bottle;

Reviewed as part of MMA 2012

 
 

Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Can they get any darker?

Nose: Rich antique leather, lightly toasted currants and raisins, my olde worlde country house study (antique leather and oak, musty first editions ..) luxury, pure luxury.

Palate: Delightfully rich and creamy. Whilst the leatheriness concentrates on the middle of the palate, the dark fruitiness caresses the sides. Wonderful.

Finish: Very long and delightfully ancient.

Overall impression: I can say no other than wonderfully "Great".

 

   
 

 

Glendronach, 41y, 25.2.1971 - June 2012, 47.9% ABV

PX Sherry Puncheon, Cask 1247, bottlle No.72 of 529

Typical cost of this bottle;

Reviewed as part of MMA 2012

 
 

Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Very dark treacle toffee.

Nose: Honey and cream alongside a very rich and lightly toasted  fruitiness (raisins, currants & cherries).

Palate: Very big, very creamy and really very gentle. The light toast-iness leads into the finish.

Finish: Medium to long and gently fading.

Overall impression: Amazing contrast of big flavours and aromas alongside gentle creaminess. Very civilised. Did I say "Great"? I did now.

 

   
   

Glendronach, 42y, 15.2.1971 - May 2013, 44.6% ABV

PX Sherry Puncheon, Cask 1246, bottlle No.122 of 432

Typical cost of this bottle;

Reviewed as part of MMA 2013

 
 

Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Liquid treacle toffee.

Nose: Rich? It's massive with toasted dark fruitiness, wood, leather, coffee beans, dark chocolate and even a hint of smokiness.

Palate: Everything from the nose but with the toasted-ness and (roasted) coffee beans multiplied by a factor of three.

Finish: Very long and toasted and quite dry right at the end.

Overall impression: Very rich, intense and obviously old and sherried, but there's just a little something light missing which prevents this one attaining 'Greatness', but it's still knocking on the door. Brilliant, just a truly excellent experience.

 

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

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