Clearing out some cupboards I found a bottle I got a long time ago but completely forgot about. It was from a time when the rumour mill was in full swing that the affordable and excellent GlenDronach 18 was to be discontinued just like the 15 before it.
In the end it doesn’t appear that the 18 has been discontinued but rather had a price increase. This in turn probably has led to less cases being sold but returns being kept in balance and a discontinuation held at bay. Or perhaps none of that is true.
Regardless, one thing which is try is this dram is well known and well liked. Just because everyone else likes something though doesn’t mean you should. I know its hard to go against the grain when the “guru” says X is good and Y is bad but its your money and your palate so buy whatever you like.
The GlenDronach distillery is in the Speyside region near Huntly and was founded in 1826.
At the moment GlenDronach is in a well established period of cult status. There is many core bottles are good prices but also regularly single cask releases which are pre-sold before they touch a shelf. Some to be opened, some to hold on to and some to resell for profit. That is the shape of the whisky industry today but it wasn’t always like this for both the distillery and the industry.
The distillery was until 2008 part of larger corporations which used the large capacity site in Speyside as blend filler. Billy Walker took the solid basis and probably large decidedly average stock portfolio and set about building a brand. BenRiach and to a lesser extent Glenglassaugh were part of this independent group until 2016 when the 3 distilleries were bought by Brown-Forman and up to this point little seems to have outwardly changed at all three distilleries.
Billy Walker has moved on and bought GlenAllachie with a same management team which helped him build up the BenRiach company. In his place, Rachel Barrie has been tempted away from Beam Suntory to take up the master distiller title. One of the first releases which came out after Rachel took over was the 15 year old which came back from the dead. This time with some PX sherry in the mix it seems to have been well received but not something I have tried.
The 18 year old is a full term matured whisky in Oloroso sherry casks. These first fill casks have spent a long time maturing the whisky and for that you get the colour in the picture above. Those dark hues are all natural and with a bottling strength of 46% ABV. That price I mentioned has gone up to nearly £100 which is what I used to expect the 21 year old to sit. Times have changed but the whisky hopefully is still as good as the 2009 bottles which got all that early positive reaction from those who got a bottle.
Colour – Dark polish wood sideboard
Nose – Powerful and sharp without water. Lots of dark raisin and dried fruit notes. What you would call a sherry bomb indeed. Brown sugar and sour fruits
Palate – medium texture and certainly not sticky or syrupy like the Arran a touch of chilli and a lot of Christmas cake. boozy one of course.
Finish – terry’s chocolate orange on a long finish a touch of mint and perhaps a maple pastry.
This is a good solid sherry bomb whisky. No-one is going to have this and be disappointed. Indeed, in the room the rest of the occupants could smell it and wanted to try it. There is a lot going on in the nose of this whisky but perhaps its lost something over the years. To me at least I noticed a bit more chilli heat than reviews I have seen or read in the last few years.