Glendronach 12 Year “Original”

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Class:  Speyside Single Malt Scotch

 

Reviewer:  Andrew Owen

The GlenDronach Distillery, aptly named after the Dronach Burn (What freshwater streams are called in Scotland), sits within the Speyside region and has become well known for its heavily sherry-influenced whiskies.  The distillery was founded in the early 19th century, and has changed ownership several times.  The distillery was also mothballed (meaning all production ceased) from 1999-2005 by then-owner Pernod Ricard, who sold the distillery to the neighboring BenRiach distillery in 2008.  This means that, at least for a couple more years, some funky math is needed to find out how old the whisky actually is inside your GlenDronach bottle.  GlenDronach has recently changed hands again, as Brown-Forman acquired the BenRiach, Glenglassaugh, and GlenDronach distilleries in 2016 for a whole 'lotta Euros.

GlenDronach had an active malting floor until 1996, but now sources all of its barley, which although previously peated is now unpeated.  GlenDronach was also one of the last distilleries to have an active direct-fired still (Glenfarclas and Springbank are the others), but that was updated to the more typical steam coil heated still.  GlenDronach has six aging warehouses onsite (3 racked, 3 dunnage).

Notes:

  • Aged entirely in either Oloroso or Pedro Ximenez Spanish sherry casks that are then vatted together for bottling.
  • Bottled at 43% ABV.
  • Non-chill filtered, no color added.  It even says right on the front of the tin!  (See Diageo, it is possible!!)

Nose:  Soft, sweet fruits - fig and raisins.  Sweet cream/white chocolate.  Something floral – maybe juniper or pine? Full, soft, and extremely enticing. Hints of pipe tobacco sneak in late.

Palate:  Dense, heavy and smooth mouthfeel and zero alcohol warmth.  A superb tandem of sweet cream and dark fruits (purple plum, figs) coat the palate, with some hints of sour cherry underneath.  The fruits are jammy.  Hints of cocoa nibs arrive mid palate.  A hearty, substantial, and savory dram.

Finish:  Very similar to the palate.  Sweet malty cream and soft fruit.  A bit of baking spice sneaks into the finish – cinnamon or nutmeg.  Lingering strawberry and buttercream.

Score:  85/100

Buying Recommendation:  Must Have!  There are very few reasonably affordable malts fully aged in sherry casks these days, GlenDronach harnesses the sherry beautifully.  For $60 or less, I'm not sure you'll find a better sherried malt, which means this deserves a spot in your cabinet!

 

The Rating Scale

At WBSE we use a true 100 point scale for scoring to allow whiskeys to further differentiate themselves (as opposed to a letter grade scale where 90% of whiskeys fall between 78-92).  This allows you to more easily compare scores between different whiskeys.  Here is how the scale breaks down:

1-49:  Varying degrees of bad

55:  Average

60-69:  Better than average

70-79:  solid/good

80-89:  excellent

90+:  truly exceptional

All thoughts and opinions expressed are original to the author of the review or article. We are in no way paid to express any specific opinion about any specific company or product.

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Publisher

All Time Favorite Whisky: Balblair 1990 2nd Edition

Daily Drinkers: Russell’s Reserve Single Barrel, Springbank 10 Year

A former craft beer enthusiast, Andrew fell in love with whiskey after tasting a pour of Laphroaig 10 year and being amazed that such a flavor could exist within a liquid. With a college background in biochemistry and a passion for history, Andrew quickly grew to love the science of whiskey making, the history of different distilleries, and the exploration of flavors within a dram. To Andrew, whiskey is more than just a drink; it is a fascinating mix of art and science – an intricate beauty to be pondered and appreciated. Besides this, Andrew has found that a nice bottle of whiskey has an amazing ability to bring people together and unite people from all different backgrounds together as friends.

While Andrew can be found drinking any style of whiskey from any region around the world, he has a particular affinity for spice-laden bourbons and coastal scotches. Besides drinking whiskey, Andrew also enjoys weight lifting, road biking, and cooking.

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