To date, I have sampled many Abbey Whisky releases. You know what? There’s not been a bad release among them. They’ve also all been really interesting – not just good, but something a little different. They’re certainly up there with Cadenhead’s in terms of quality and consistency in my book – the sort of level where you could happily buy something on a whim and safely know you’re getting a good whisky.
The Whisky Fairy recently delivered another Abbey Whisky exclusive. Each time I try one of their whiskies I dread to think that there might be something a little off, something that’s not very good about the whisky. Or – and this is the worst crime in my eyes – simply bland. As I discovered, I had no need to worry. They delivered a single cask GlenDronach from 1994 – a 20 Year Old that has lived its life in a Pedro Ximénez cask, one of the sweetest and darkest sherries around. There are only 672 bottles of this one, and it clocks in at 54.8% ABV.
Colour: burnt umber. Ridiculously dark! As if the colour of Pedro Ximénez itself. On the nose: sherry bomb! Molasses, burnt sugar, absolutely intense dry fruits, prunes, blackcurrants, tannins, Cabernet Sauvignon, and a few wood notes. It’s huge, but is so classy that it doesn’t overwhelm.
In the mouth: my word that’s eye-wateringly good stuff, and feels a lot older than 20 years. It’s very intense, wonderfully cloying and dry in the mouth. Prunes, figs, grape juice. Leather chairs at the country club. Cigars and pencil boxes. Cocoa, mint, coffee and chicory, a little honey. Almost a cola richness. There’s just the hint of wood spice, but it’s not too much – the whisky could live in that cask even longer if it had to, but I think it’s good to go now as this absolutely beautiful.
This is the perfect after-dinner whisky. In fact, it’s one of the best GlenDronachs I’ve tasted – and given I’m a huge fan of these whiskies, that’s high praise from me. A bottle costs £97.95 and I would say that price is really good value for money. 20 years is a pretty decent age for a whisky, but this feels so much older, and far more stately, than you’d expect.
I don’t know how GlenDronach or even Abbey Whisky are so consistently good in cask selection and quality. But the GlenDronach 1994 Single Cask #3400 is a sublime whisky. If you like cask strength Glenfarclas or Aberlour, you’d be silly not to give this a go. If you love GlenDronach then why haven’t you already bought your bottle?
Update: here’s proof I put my money where my mouth is.