GlenDronach 12 year

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A classically sherried whisky, GlenDronach is a meaty,sturdy spirit, naturally suited to long aging. The distilling of GlenDronach takes place in ex-sherry casks in a distillery near Dronach Burn in Speyside. Most of the products that occupy the shelf have been bottled from the stocks of maturing whisky that was distilled by the previous owners. However, being owned by the Benriach Distilling Company since 2008 has resulted in explorations into new avenues of expression along with offerings that enforce its reputation of “sherry monster”.

Aged entirely in Oloroso and Pedro Ximinez ex-sherry casks, the 12 year old original product was re-launched in 2009. Bottled at 43% ABV it has no added coloring and is not chill filtered. I have to admit, the more good whisky I drink, the more I appreciate these declarations on the labels of the bottles.

Nose: A meaty, sherried nose, it comes with a lot of chewing tobacco and dark red plum which is accompanied by something savory resembling glazed short ribs. With all that is going on under the surface it is fortunate this does not include anything too fruity or sweet. In fact, it’s just right. Following developing the glass, there’s a hint of Maraschino cherry, and possibly a little wood varnish.

GlenDronach 12

Palate: Mellow and medium-bodied. An initial rush of rye spiciness and cherry is followed by a subsidence into coconut butter, dried plumbs, dark chocolate shavings and barbecue sauce.

Finish: Although it is not long, it is tasty. The mouth-drying effect of the wood tannin lingers with a cola-like burnt sugar taste. However, there is no bitterness. This is eventually followed by a marshmallowy flavor of cereal covered in powdered sugar as the malt finally shines through. Excellent stuff.

A little water seems to not affect the finish, palate or nose. Which is odd. I would, however, suggest you leave out the water, unless you prefer the sweetened effect it may have.

Overall: This is an extremely good sherried malt for the price of approximately $45. In fact, I think it is worlds better than The Macallan 12 – which is at a similar price point. Like a good sweet and spicy glaze on barbecued pork, the GlenDronach has an unrelenting balanced savoriness which works perfectly with the elements of sweet fruit that are inherent in sherry maturation. This is an excellent choice if you have a spot in your daily dram rotation for an inexpensive sherried malt.

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