Type of whisk(e)y – Whisky (scotch).
How long has the whisk[e]y bottle been open? – Under 6 months.
Introduction to the whisk[e]y (casks used, distillery, is it a special release etc) – The GlenDronach, arguably the masters of sherry maturation. This dram is bottled at an eye watering 61% ABV and so on the face of it, isn’t for the faint heated. Open the bottle and you get a kick in the face like someone has pushed your face within millimetres of a lorry of berries that just crashed into a fruit cake factory. So if you have a sweet tooth, this one is up there for you.
The distillery is another in the Brown-Forman portfolio alongside Benriach and Glenglassaugh and was the first to get the big revamp of the range by master blender Dr Rachel Barrie. Matured in Oloroso and Pedro Ximenez casks with nothing else in sight this batch 8 has the most wonderful depth of colour, almost red grape colour with a hint more brown and not much more transparent than a grape. Colour is all good and well, but, e150 caramel? Not here, though there are rumours that might not be the case for long at Glendronach which alongside NCF going would be a shame. But lets enjoy this whilst we have it, I have some faith natural colour and NCF is going to make a bit of a come back given Royal Brackla just got a revamp and went back having been coloured to hell, CF and watered right down.
Onto tasting, this really is something!
Appearance – Near treacle coloured and with a layer around the glass and slow tears developing when left alone. Clear but also reflective of what is around it (think the old Warner Brothers film intro).
You’d never pin this at 61%, probably closer to 46-50%.
Red grape, organic red wine, maybe a cab sav, spiced fruit cake. Overall a lot of dark fruits, a sherry bomb but not to the extent you’d be as well just drinking the sherry. At the tail end there is a little chocolatey, nutty, caramelly praline.
Palate – Christmas spice that coats the mouth and becomes delightfully creamy. Mulled or stewed fruit which is very nice too.
Finish – Ooooh it burns. Once it goes you get a nice lingering fruity spice that is nice and warm. On the second or third sip the burn is softer, definitely a case of where taking your time is beneficial to fully understanding and ending up enjoying a dram.
Overall thoughts – I’m nearing the end of this bottle and probably wouldn’t run back for another of this batch. I will however consider going for a bottle from the next batch because it really is a malt that can stand up to the high strength.
GlenDronach has yet to fail in providing a delightful dram. Even the 12 year old at 43% is more than acceptable, truthfully it is an ever reliable whisky than cannot be frowned upon for the novice or experienced whisky drinker. Long may they continue to produce an excellent selection of whiskies with the core range seeming to have had the 12, 15, 18, 21 and Cask Strength batches for a while.
In value for money terms, £62 from Luvians wasn’t awful by any means when you try the whisky but it is still £62 for a non age statement. Whisky is going up in price, but as ‘reasonable’ prices for the quality goes, this is pretty solid.
Pic credit – Master of malt
Many thanks to Jack, @scotchjak (Twitter) for submitting his tasting notes, both comprehensive and informative.Follow @scotchjak