We’ve reached the 4th of the mystery drams provided by Malt Review. For those unaware this is the latest in a series of dram swaps, where devoid of details we put together tasting notes and the bottle is then revealed. You may be asking why number 4 when the sample is clearly labelled 5 in the photograph above. Well, the true number 4 wasn’t a secret and I’ll be reviewing that Yamazaki in due course.
This turned out to be a GlenDronch and quite a coincidence as I was discussing current releases with whisky friends who were raving about #1 and #2 in this cask strength NAS series. So much so, a handful of #3’s were being ordered by them before supplies ran dry.
Distilled: No age statement
Casks: Oloroso and Pedro Ximenez
Price: expect to pay around £50
Colour: worn brass
Aroma: immediately a Highland Toffee bar and if you’ve never had the pleasure of one of Scotland’s greatest exponents of tooth decay think lots of sugar, sickly sweet and sticky toffee.
I was thinking of a melted chocolate fountain but there is a citrus note amongst it all. Yeah, now its Terry’s Chocolate Orange. Apologies for all the confectionary mannerisms but I reckon you can guess this is an inoffensive and mainstream malt by design. What else? It’s moving on now with a little buttered toast, a leathery note, black treacle (a texture on the tongue as well) and some chilli flakes. This has been put together extremely well with the notes just flowing from one to another; maybe a little too clinical?
Taste: there’s a real thickness almost treacle-like, some mixed spice, black pepper, a touch of burnt embers and a really roast beef body to it. If this was a wine it would be a well rounded red that’s for sure. Then we’re back on the leather couch again with raisins and a sherry influence giving us that polish.
Well, I do like this mystery dram, as I said its a crowd pleaser rather than a real challenge to dissect. It reminds me a little of the Dalmore Cigar Malt and the sherry influence has been managed strictly. It has that luxury feel but all the rough edges and really interesting characteristics have been wiped away.
Now writing from here knowing the identity, the most surprising aspect is the strength of this release as I’d have but it into the 40’s but 54.9% is remarkable. In some respects the experience is of a much older malt that despite its strength has a certain dignified grandeur. For the price this is clearly a bargain hence its popularity.