Once upon a time the whisky regions of Scotland relied on local resources to produce their water of life. This meant floor maltings on site that relied on kilns to dry the barley. These in turn would have been fired by peat harvested nearby for the year ahead. Direct fired stills would have continued this theme and each stage would have increased the potency for flavour outside of the wood itself.
Nowadays of course whisky is far more efficient and the regions interconnected thanks to modern transportation links. Barley doesn’t come from down the road today; potentially it could be another country never mind county entirely. Directly fired stills are almost extinct and floor maltings are only entertained by a handful of distilleries.
So it goes without saying that whisky from these decades would have possessed an element of peat, a hint of smoke and Islay wasn’t the be all and end all for peated expressions. Just look to 1972 and Brora for proof of the potency and potential offered by a mainland distillery.
Nowadays the fashion is for peated whisky and those distilleries that have progressed into the modern age have until now left behind such a characteristic. In recent years they have sought to rediscover their peated roots with mixed results. I did enjoy the Glenfiddich 125th Anniversary release yet more recently was disappointed by Glenlivet’s Nadurra edition finished in heavily peated whisky casks.
This peated GlenDronach is a popular addition to their normally sherry influenced core range. It’ll set you back around £37 and is bottled at 46% strength. This sample was kindly provided by Justine who you can discover over at Kaskwhisky.
GlenDronach Peated – review
Colour: vanilla custard
On the nose: sunflower oil, gunpowder residue, pineapples, pine cones, sandpaper, lemons, cough syrup, ground hazelnuts, custard creams.
In the mouth: interesting a rush of sweetness I wasn’t expecting before the peat steps in and takes over. Then a torrent of ash, juicy pineapple, almonds and Sugar Puffs (a popular UK cereal with honey). Then some sweetness of castor sugar, crushed walnuts and finally bitter red salad leaves.
A no age statement whisky that shows on the palate. Very two dimensional in reality, its perfect if you’re wanting a quick peat hit without any effort required.