Distiller: GlenDronach. ABV: 54.9% No age statement. Region: Highland. Price: $80-100.
My GlenDronach adventure started a while back when I stopped in K&L Wines Hollywood looking for something to fill the void of a Macallan Whisky Maker’s Edition I’d fallen for but couldn’t find outside the duty free.
The great David O-G offered the ‘Dronach 12 as a rough substitute. It hit the spot from the first dram. Lush sherry and oak in a balance worthy of the Macallan 12. GlenDronach’s been doing exciting things since being acquired by BenRiach in 2008, and the 12’s one of many good examples–not to mention an excellent value among single malts.
Recently I dove into the GlenDronach Cask Strength line with a bottle Batch 3. (There are 5 so far.) They’re all no-age-statement releases, and this one rings in at 54.9% ABV. It’s matured in a combination of Oloroso and Pedro Ximenez sherry casks.
It’s a wild dram, even next to sherry bombs like the great Aberlour A’Bunadh. The sherry’s there of course, but the profile is more dark and funky than the rounder, fruitier flavors of the Macallan Cask Strength or Glenfarclas 105.
It starts with a nose of dark dried fruits, creme brulée crust, and winey red grape must. The palate’s murky, wild, and tannic, with a dense mouthfeel. All sorts of good stuff emerging with water, so take your time and try different amounts to get what you want from it. Carrot cake with walnuts, savory notes–Moroccan olives? Even, oddly, a little watermelon. The finish is long and dark, with black tea, burnt toast, and roasted mushrooms.
GlenDronach’s stock is rising fast these days, and the Cask Strength series is one more reason why. Sláinte, friends! – BO