This is a brief write-up, as I could have combined it with last week’s review of the GlenDronach Peated. Anyway, this sort of whisky is what GlenDronach is more famed for: absolute sherry monsters. One of my favourite whiskies of the past year or so was Abbey Whisky’s exclusive single cask from GlenDronach, so when the annual releases of the distillery’s single casks made their way onto the market I rushed to get myself a bottle. But with so many being released each year – in Batch 12 there were 9 official bottlings – how did I choose?
Well, one of the more respectable places I like to hang out on Facebook is the GlenDronach Appreciation Society page, where the new releases were discussed. The one I bought was received favourably on the page, and that was cask #444. It was a 20 year old GlenDronach that was bottled in August 2015, and it had spent its life living in a Pedro Ximénez Sherry Puncheon, before being bottled at 52% ABV. Which, in fact, sounded very similar to the Abbey Whisky bottle that I enjoyed so much last year.
Now, I paid £110 for this – because I’m a fan of GlenDronach, and of these annual releases, so I’ll admit that’s a fair bit of cash to the average whisky punter and I certainly didn’t tell my wife that’s how much I paid for it. Anyway, it’s largely sold out online, so you may struggle to find a bottle outside of online auctions.
I’ve written before about the full and fruity impact of sherry casks on whisky, so have a read of that if you’d like to know more. But suffice to say, I’m expecting this to be the whisky equivalent of sitting on Father Christmas’ knee and eating his mince pie.
Colour: mahogany, henna. Look at the picture, for heaven’s sake! It’s incredible.
On the nose: thick and sticky dried fruit aromas, with figs and dates at the fore. Quite a lot of heather honey here too. Nice and musty, with the aromas of old cellars and just a touch of prickly wood. Blood oranges. Amber. Burnt toast. A little bit of stewed apples, too. Leather-bound books: the old library, Chesterfield wingbacks from the 1950s.
In the mouth: just heavenly. All of those hefty dried fruits thunder through in the mouth. The texture isn’t that thick, and it’s strangely light and spritely. Fruit cake. Apricots. Figs. Spicy, with plenty of chilli pepper warmth. Assam tea. Tobacco. And a lot of wood at the back-end: school drawers and pencil sharpenings. Tannins.
Brilliant. Sublime. Exactly what I wanted. I mean, though perhaps they’re an acquired taste for some, for me these PX maturations from GlenDronach are divine – something the Angel Gabriel would give as (instead of) a message from God.
If you can ever track down one of these old sherry monsters from GlenDronach, then you’re in for a treat.