Tag Archives: glendronach

GlenDronach Cask Strength Batch 8 & GlenDronach Master Vintage 1993 Review

GlenDronach Cask Strength Batch 8 – Distiller: GlenDronach. ABV: 61%. Age: 10 years. Region: Highland. Price: $95.

GlenDronach Master Vintage 1993 – Distiller: GlenDronach. ABV: 48.2% Age: 25 years. Region: Highland. Price: $350.

For sherry fans, GlenDronach is a must. It’s a mainstay for me when I’m in a (non-peated) sherry mood, along with Glenfarclas and Aberlour. (No shade to those who gravitate toward Tamdhu, Mortlach, or Macallan.)

The Glendronach Cask Strength is the most potent sherry punch the Highlands distillery offers–and as the new Batch 8 rings in at 61% ABV, it’s potent indeed. (The Batch 3, by comparison, was a “mere” 54.9%.)

Interestingly, the massive nose on the Batch 8 shows bourbon-like notes alongside the obvious sherry. (For the record, maturation was a mixture of Pedro Ximénez puncheons, quarter casks and Oloroso sherry butts, and the distillery offers an age statement of 10 years–a departure from the more common no-age-statement sherry bombs.)

At full strength, I got buttery caramel first, then pomegranate syrup. Strawberry jam. Watermelon. Caramel apple. The palate was very juicy, with strong apple again. Surprisingly sweet finish, with apple pie spices, then raspberry tea. Zero tannic edge.

That’s all at full strength. And let’s be honest: only the truly grizzled (*ahem*) are likely to drink it at full strength.

Even they shouldn’t. Because this dram really shows its stuff with a splash of water. Now the nose brings big hits of brown sugar and dark leather. The palate lights up with a new boldness–almost electricity–darkness, depth, fire, and spice. The now goes on forever, and the sweetness is balanced by just enough tannins. Toasted marshmallow mellows into soft leather, then just a hint of licorice.

The 25-year-old GlenDronach Master Vintage 1993 brings me back to…high school? Well, the vintage year does, but my tastes ran more to diner coffee and mozzarella sticks at the time. To be fair, the new make wasn’t at its best back then either.

Fast forward a quarter century, and you’ve got a very refined, very impressive dram.

The nose is quite dense, all sherry. (Interesting how much more intense it is than the far more potent Cask Strength–that’s what time in good wood does for you.) Fig. Milk chocolate. Black forest cake. There’s that pomegrate syrup again.

The mouthfeel has huge texture, but not at the cost of balance. I love it. The palate’s a little tight at first, but just a drop of water and it blooms exquisitely. Dense sherry fruits with restrained sweetness, rich oak, and vinous fresh berry notes. Leather and spice lead the transition to the finish. Heavy ginger and clove, and increasing dryness as the finish goes on. Black tea and sour cherry toward the end.

Two fine drams from ‘Dronach heading in to the holiday season. Any sherry lover would be lucky to have them.

Cheers, friends! – BO

Buy GlenDronach Cask Strength online at Mash + Grape

GlenDronach and BenRiach Chicago Tasting Events

February 6-7, 2018, 7:00 pm – 9:30 pm

Come join the Axis of Whisky in Chicago at the upcoming The GlenDronach and BenRiach tasting events! Tastings will be led by Global Whisky Ambassador Stewart Buchanan, accompanied by Chicago local ambassador Max Heinemann.

On February 6 from 7:00 pm – 9:30 pm, The GlenDronach, renowned as a master of sherry cask maturation and distinguished for true Highland style single malt scotch whiskies, will host “Original By Design,” a tasting event at globally-inspired upscale cocktail lounge Arbella in River North downtown.

Guests will take part in an immersive evening featuring scheduled seatings where they’ll learn about the brand’s heritage as of one Scotland’s oldest distilleries, and taste a variety of expressions–including the new limited edition release–that showcase The GlenDronach’s rich experience of sublime depth, balanced complexity and long-lasting finish.

Click to RSVP for Feb. 6

 

The next evening, February 7 from 7:00 pm – 9:30 pm, the unconventional, Speyside single malt scotch whisky BenRiach will host “See Both Sides,” a celebration of the brand’s dual distilling heritage at The Barrelhouse Flat in Lincoln Park.

During small seated tastings, the event will educate guests on the brand’s unique flavors and new limited edition release, showcasing many elements that make BenRiach known as versatile daring and innovative, and pushing the boundaries of malt alchemy like no other.

Click to RSVP for Feb. 7

 

Join us on February 6 and 7!

GlenDronach Cask Strength Review – Batch 3

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

Buy GlenDronach Cask Strength online at Mash + Grape