Glendronach Distillery Bottlings Tasting Notes

Posted: August 26, 2011 in Glendronach, Scotch Whisky A-G

Glendronach Cask Strength Batch 4 54.7%

Tasted: July 2015

Nose: Opens with warm vanilla, herbal accented barley and hints of dried fruit. The oak is pretty chunky and lightly coffee’d and begins to dominate the nose.

Palate: Full with an almost corn-like character along with hints of burnt toffee, dried fruit, liquorice, prune and gritty wood tannins. Quite foursquare and a little inelegant, but showing a better balance than the nose.

Finish: Good length with toasty popcorn, toffee, bitter chocolaty spices and again that corn-like note.

Conclusion: Is this an American in sheep’s tartan? More than likely it’s been aged in heavily charred first fill American oak

Glendronach Cask Strength Batch 5 55.3%

Tasted: Dec 2016

The nose displays an impressive intensity of treacle toffee, walnuts, dried fruit and sweet, herbal notes. Hints of perfume violets, lilies, roasted nuts and dusty pot pourri. With time with a light balsamic note appears along with earth, crab apples an orange conserve.

The palate opens with plenty of citrus – orange and tangerine along with hints of walnut shell and drying tannins. Lightly herbal with a touch of prune and raisin. Again an impressive intensity and a light earthiness. Visceral, mouth-watering finish with lingering dried fruit, herbs, earth and coffee.

Water softens the nose, emphasising the dried grape, nuts and herbal notes. On the palate it brings out more coffee and toffee. Less visceral, but still impressively deep and herbal with a lovely, vibrant, natural finish.

Glendronach Cask Strength Batch 6 56.1%

Tasted: Dec 2016

A fresher nose than batch 5 with more crisp citrus and herbal dried fruit. Hints of coffee and herbal Oloroso initially dominates. It’s also drier and less treacly than batch 5 with a touch of marzipan, burnt toast and vanilla.

The palate is fresh and citric, like the nose with an almost spritzy character, sharp dried fruit and, herbs and light treacle. The alcohol is masking the finish and in conjunction with the citrus makes it eye wateringly intense to say the least. A touch of treacle comes through at the death with a touch of dark roasted French coffee.

A drop of water makes the nose beautifully orangery with luscious tangerine and Clementine notes. Softer and more rounded now with a smidge of milk chocolate. The palate is also softer, but it’s still pretty citric, although maybe not as sharp and dilution has allowed a lovely, distinctly Highland vibrancy and granitiness to appear. Long with subtly sweet barley and honey along with the ever present citrus.

Glendronach Peated 46%

A vatting of Ex Bourbon, part finished in ex-Pedro Ximinex casks and part finished in ex-Oloroso casks

Tasted: Dec 2015

A crisp, fresh and quite briny with creamy oak, chunky barley and coastal peat. Lovely depth of soft apricot and lacking the usual hardness found in American oak matured Glendronach. Quite oily with a late hint of sweet orange.

Oily and soft on the palate opening with the toffee’d American oak, followed by the slightly coastal peat. Hints of honey, white fruit, apricot and subtle sherry notes. Very mouth-filling and robust with developing peat smoke. Long and very briny finish with lingering crisp citrus and sweet peat.

Glendronach Peated 46%

Re-Tasted: May 2016

The aromas are a tad on the industrial side, but they are well wrapped up in the peat. There’s plenty of American oak, but it’s well balanced by the herbal, spicy, sweet, violet tinged, treacly sherry notes.

The palate is more earthy and peaty with subtler vanilla oak. Quite smoky with liquorice, treacle and winey, grapey sherry notes coming through on the middle. Still its very well balanced with a slightly meaty finish. Lingering peat, sherry, spice and violets.

Glendronach Peated 46%

Re-Tasted: Dec 2016

Intense, but gentle, herbal peat, treacle mingles on the nose, with subtle dried fruit, coffee, nuts, dark toffee. Pleasantly sweet and earthy with the alcohol adding a balancing crispness.

The palate is soft, and coffee’d with treacle, dried fruit, nuts and herbs. Rounded and mouth-filling with a riot of subtly earthy peat and treacly fruit with a subtle minerality. Long and crisp with oily barley and honey coming through with a touch of liquorice, orange, soft tannins and lingering peat.

Glendronach Peated Port Wood 46%

American/ Port

Btl: 2017/ Tasted: Nov 2017

A very interesting nose. it comes across more like high toned Gamay-esque red fruit than heavy port fruit. Quite crisp and fresh with heathery, highland peat with a slight medicinal and Islay-like edge. Hints of syrup appear along with hints of manure and youthful marc-like spirit notes.

The palate is fresh and crisp with cherry jam and oily, youthful spirit notes. There is a very slight feintiness, but those feints are quite sweet and meld into the manurey peat on the middle. Long with lingering earthy peat and sweet, oily spirit, red berries and charcoal. I would be surprised if this was older than 5 years.

Glendronach ‘The Heilan’ 8 year old 46%

Tasted: July 2015

Nose: Shy and subtle to begin with. Herbal barley, granulated sugar and thick, lightly oiled apricot. The oak appears with a pleasant toffee’d/ buttery demeanour and with time the aromas become quite fragrant.

Palate: Crisper and more mineral and citric than the nose would suggest, but the toffee and vanilla notes move in quickly. Good depth of barley, honey and off-sweet fruit with balancing herbal and mineral notes.

Finish: Quite citric and mineral with a light mouth-watering, juicy finish.

Conclusion: Dense, succulent and very enjoyable.

Glenronach 8 year old ‘The Hielan’ 46%

Re-Tasted: Dec 2016

Classic aromas of slightly hard barley, softened by toffee and subtle sherried, herbal dried fruit. Some lovely, sweet barley emerges and although the nose is a little taught that sweetness adds a counter balance.

The palate opens with subtle molasses an Oloroso herbal notes. Hints of toffee and hard barley comes through along with cocoa powder, coffee, liquorice and malt. Good spicy finish with some grippy, herbal tannins and chocolate spice.

Glendronach 1994 (10 year old?) Abbey Whisky Exclusive Single Cask 54.8%

Tasted: Jan 2015

Nose: Supple, deep aromas of walnuts, prunes, cold tea, orange zest, figs and sticky treacle. Beautifully balanced by a thread of citrus. With time some oxidised plum, sweet blackcurrant, green nuts and a light wood smoke note emerges. Water sweetens and gives the dried fruit a Cognac-esque character.

Palate: Soft and sherried. Quite treacly with prune, walnut, dried grape and sweet but edgy spice – coriander and cinnamon. The alcohol stops it from becoming flabby. Water makes it very mouth-filling, emphasises the raisinated fruit and brings out some herbal notes and a touch more coffee.

Finish: Long and very spicy. The tannins come through and make the finish a little dry but the treacle and luscious dried fruit offset. Lovely mocha after-taste. Still quite tannic and spicy with water.

Conclusion: No distillery character but plenty of pure, natural, clean sherry character.

Glendronach 12 year old 40%        

Sherry/ Tasted: Mar 2003

A huge sherry impact followed by aromas of malt, spicy and smoke. Big, rich, full bodied with an initial sherry burst, plus malt and hints of peat and smoke. A long, rich, warming finish.

Glendronach 12 year old 43%

Oloroso & Pedro Ximinez Casks/ Tasted: May 2012

Juicy, straw-like, slightly herbal Oloroso along with a touch of boiled sweets and spice. The PX gives the nose a dense richness. Quite malty with some floral, almost gristy barley showing through. For a sherry aged malt it does have a lovely balance, but it does display a slight blemish from a rouge butt or two.

A juicy, crisp and granity start with hints of boiled sweets and barley. The sherry ratchets up the richness a few degree’s as it gets rolling, adding plenty of liquorice and dried fruit. Pleasantly spicy on the middle with a touch of cocoa and bitter oak tannins. Again there is a slight sulphur blemish which is disappointing but it has a good length with a thick cut marmalade note in the finish.

Glendronach ‘Original’ 12 year old 43%

Oloroso/ Pedro Ximinez Casks

Re-Tasted: Nov 2013

The rich, treacly, Pedro Ximinez aromas show first followed by hints of sweet, lightly herbal Oloroso. Big, weighty, juicy and malty with raisin, prune, liquorice, grilled almonds and walnuts. Wonderfully clean, unlike the last time I tasted it with developing coffee spice and tobacco notes.

The palate is clean and treacly with malt, liquorice, prune, raisin and sultana. Lightly smokes and very nutty on the middle with some drying wood tannins, however the citrus notes gives it a pleasant lift. Pretty well balanced with a blast of lightly bitter spices in the finish but the treacle notes stop the bittering getting out of hand by coating the mouth with a treacle residue.

Glendronach 12 year old Sauternes cask finish 46%

Tasted: Oct 2014

Nose: A beautiful nose of dusty spices with hints of perfumed violets, earth, chunky honey and barley. It’s a big, powerful and impressive nose with chunky, lightly buttery oak, sweet barley and rye-like herbal notes. I have to say the honey is divine!

Palate: Opens with honey drizzled barley and dusty spices. Full and chewy with apricot, barley and juicy malt. Hints of dried fruit come through along with coffee and liquorice.

Finish: Long, succulent and juicy. The thick honey balances the alcohol and the tannins superbly. Slightly smoky and earthy spice after-taste.

Conclusion: Simply stunning. Powerful, complex and superbly balanced. A malt to savour and unwind with

Glendronach 14 year old Virgin Oak Finish 46%

Puncheon/ Virgin American Oak

Tasted: July 2014

Earthy and straw-like aromas with no shortage of slightly gritty oak vanillins along with a slight creaminess and with time a hint of violet. Beneath lurks a hard sub-industrial character. To be honest the nose is a bit of a battle between the oak and the spirit with neither showing any harmony!

The palate is soft and slightly creamy with some earthy spice and dried straw notes. Like the nose the oak tries to hide some slightly industrial barley. The middle is pretty dry and hard with the oak bittering the finish. In conclusion I don’t think this has been entirely successful. It feels like the puncheon has dried the spirit out and it has been finished in new oak to try and add some oak character, but overall it just feels a bit forced.

Glendronach 14 year old Marsala Cask Finish 46%

Tasted: Dec 2016

Intense grapey and winey aromas from the finishing cask with astringent nuts and lightly herbal treacle. Big, bold and very cask influenced with plenty of soft but grippy tannins, but the toffee/ treacle notes balance.

The palate is very much like the nose suggests, intense, winey and grapey. Pleasantly soft with an astringent, herbal edge. Vibrant and mouth-watering middle with more treacle and herbs. Long and continuing mouth-watering and astringent with burnt toffee, supple tannins and grapey dried fruit fruits lingering.

Glendronach 15 year old ‘Revival’ 46%

Oloroso Cask/ Tasted: Nov 2009

Following on from the sale of the distillery to Benriach, the whole range was re-vamped in 2009. The new 15 year old opens with an elegant aroma of leafy sherry, followed by orange, walnut, date and dried fruit, hints of liquorice, wood spices, soya and chocolate. Not exactly a monster although there is not much in the way of distillery character, However for a sherry matured dram it has a degree of elegance.

The palate is gentle and a bit syrupy-sweet. There is a very slight sulphur blemish, but it is submerged by the leafy sherry flavours.  The middle has a bit of a hole in it and it drops off sharply as the soft wood tannins hit the palate. All a bit disappointing really.

Glendronach ‘Revival’ 15 year old 46%

Tasted: Nov 2013

A nose of burnt coffee and grainy Oloroso sherry. Very malty with hints of brown sugar, syrup and herbs. Quite deep but lacking any nuance.

The palate is light-ish, clean and relatively dry with plenty of herbal sherry. Quite malty with building citrus notes. Very citrusy and granity on the finish which allows a little perfume and peppery spice through. Pleasant enough, if a little one-dimensional.

Glendronach ‘Allardice’ 18 year old 46%

Tasted: Nov 2013

The nose has an abundance of rich, spiced fruitcake with toffee and orange zest. Lovely maturity and complexity with juicy sun dried chocolate coated raisin and a touch of smoke. With time a light perfumed note emerges.

The palate is quite gentle with an almost Cognac-esque rancio of dried fruit. Very elegant with hints of walnuts, price, chocolate and coffee. Lovely building citrus/ granity notes along with some dusty tannins. Very long with maybe a suggestion of an off note but that disappears quickly leaving the granity/ citrus notes and finishing with a little bitter chocolate and light treacle.

Glendronach ‘Allardice’ 18 year old 46%

Re-Tasted: Dec 2014

Nose: Dusty and slightly fusty aromas of Oloroso sherried dried fruit – prune, grape and raisin, along with hints of green nuts.

Palate: Lightly blemished Oloroso dried fruit with hints of spice and green nuts. With time the blemish becomes more apparent.

Finish: Long but blemished.

Conclusion: I think the odd rouge sherry butt has crept in here.

Glendronach 1993 (19 year old) 54.2%

Sherry Cask 487/ Dist: Feb 1993 Btl: July 2012/ Tasted Sept 2012

A very sulphured, eggy nose with some Oloroso dried fruit, cardboardy spice and fusty notes.

The palate is so sulphur ruined its untrue; yes there is some dried fruit, sweet prune and musty wood spice but essentially all one can taste is fusty sulphur! Surly the distillery could have picked a better cask to bottle, and to think this is retailing for £76……….. You are having a laugh!

Glendronach ‘Parliament’ 21 year old 48%

Oloroso/ Pedro Ximinez Casks

Tasted: Nov 2013

A little shy to begin with but it has a lovely depth of alcohol soaked spiced fruitcake. Dense and moist with hints of black cherry, walnut, toffee, dark chocolate and violet. With time the toasty, mature oak makes its presence known bring spices galore and a touch of vanilla, green salted nuts. Delicious!

The palate is full and gentle with exceedingly moist raisinated fruitcake, dusty/ toasty, mature oak and spices. The oils build pleasantly and the  middle has a lovely citrus kick along with some granity notes. Quite a dry finish as the sweet, syrupy notes are pushed aside by the citrus, leaving a dry, slightly herbal and lightly chocolaty tannin finish.

Glendronach ‘Parliament’ 21 year old 48%

Re-Tasted: Dec 2014

Nose: Chunky barley, citrus and smoky sherried fruit mingle pleasantly. With time hints of camomile and earth appear.

Palate: Moist and deep with treacle coated fruitcake, liquorice and earth with a developing orange rind character.

Finish: Good spicy finish with lingering citrus and minerals.

Conclusion: Well balanced with plenty of sharp citrus coming through to offset the sherry richness.

  1. Koen says:

    The 15 yr revival is a great whisky,
    Leaving it settle in the glass for at least 20 minutes brings out lovely aromas .
    No sulphur in here , at least very little.
    When I smell a good whisky , bourbon or sherry.
    I like it when you get spices like nutmeg cinnamon (toasted oak ? )Hard to explain…
    That is what I’ll try to find in a whisky. With good balance of the fruitiness of the spirit.
    But that is what I like offcourse.
    Not shure if that’s a overall signature for good whisky

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