Glendronach's fourth batch of their Cask Strength series was unveiled in April 2014, with a release comprising of 17,806 bottles presented at 54.7% ABV. Comprised of whisky drawn from Pedro Ximénez and Oloroso Sherry casks, then bottled without chill filtration, batch four is gorgeously intense with notes of walnut and coffee cake, gingerbread and ripe plums.
Glendronach, one of my favourite distilleries, is now owned by BenRiach; another distillery, I'm quite fond of, for their experimental casks.
No age statement is of slight concern, given they state the age of the rest of their standard range, (12, 15, 18, 21) which are all exceptional whiskies.
When I first opened this whisky, I had enormously high hopes, given my love for Glendronach, highland distilleries, sherry casks, cask strength whisky and Christina Hendricks bosom (that's not relevant to the whisky, I just thought it was worth a mention). I was terribly disappointed when I found it to be a hot, too young whisky with a finish as interesting as a 100m dash between Usain Bolt and Stephen Hawking (without the chair)
Fast forward 6 months. White Rabbit Cocktail Room, Canberra, I've all but forgotten this is on the shelf. It's a quiet night, the cold has scared off all the customers, so I tell my staff that we're going to do a blind tasting (as training of course). I volunteer to go first and head out to the kitchen, so as not to cheat. James calls me out front, I go through the motions. I look at the colour, I nose it (there's not a lot going on there) Not expecting much, I take my first sip... it's amazing! It tastes like... everything! Too much going on for my casual approach. I get my serious whisky tasting face on. It's still amazing! An array of flavours, huge intensity and a finish that shows up late but strong. It tastes like Glendronach! But it's too big. And then I open my eyes and see a lonely, neglected, almost full bottle of Glendronach cask strength. l immediately get the same feeling as when I come home to find my puppy, stuck outside in the rain, staring at me through the window. I vow to never let this happen again. So I buy my dog a kennel. I'm kidding, I'm reminded of the beauty of scotch whisky and spend a large sum of money acquiring more of it. Worth every cent.
Nose: Very light, reminiscent of a low rye Rye whiskey, lemon peel, slightly floral, damp towel, soft vanilla notes, cinnamon and white pepper, soft but typical Oloroso sherry notes towards the end.
Taste: Honey, sweet sherry, toffee, fresh espresso, over ripened sultanas, Oloroso more dominant than PX, floral, more lemon peel and chamomile tea
Addition of water (Roughly reduced to 45-48% ABV)
Nose: Honey, cinnamon, malt, bigger Oloroso notes
Taste: Figs, very slight soapiness on early finish, toffee and fudge
The finish comes late but is full of complexity. This whisky will take a while to get your head around, but well worth it.
A magnificent whisky. I would love to see it with just a few more years in a cask. The nose lets it down slightly and the addition of water is almost unnecessary and slightly detrimental to this whisky. Not a beginners whisky but a great malt, none the less.
Bar Manager, White Rabbit Cocktail Room