Saturday 3 June 2017

[Scotland Stag] Glendron-aching for more: Tour

Hi everyone,

After Glenfiddich we popped over to Speyside Cooperage for a quick tour and some food. Then it was time to take Tom over to Glendronach, as he’s a huge fan of Sherried whiskies. I’d been on my last trip to Speyside but had only done the basic tour. So this time we did the Discovery tour with some tasters of stuff I hadn’t tried yet.

Glendronach is a lovely traditional distillery, set well away from the main Speyside trail in some lovely rolling hills with swaying barley fields. You are shown the old maltings that were active until 1996, then the cast iron mash tun, wooden washbacks, etc. Since we were there on Friday afternoon, the distillery had shut down for the weekend and everything was being polished, which was actually a nice change to the heat and shouting (over the noise) tour guides of many other places.

Speyside Cooperage
It’s interesting to find out how much distilleries are running too, Glendronach, as well as many other places, run 24 hours a day over 5 days, while some distilleries are 24/7 if demand is high. I also asked whether Brown Forman (who bought the distillery last year) had made any changes and the guide said that there had been no changes to the production as of yet.

All the stills at Glendronach were direct fired until 1996 too, but the distillery was closed from then till 2002. This means, if you do the maths, that recent batches of the 18yo will be 20 years old. What I don’t like about the Glendronach tour though, is that you don’t get shown any of the warehouses, just a window into one. This is a real shame as that’s always my favourite part of a tour.

The tasting for our tour was meant to be the Cask Strength, 21 year old and the Manager’s Cask (a bottle your own). Unfortunately, it had been Spirit of Speyside festival earlier in the month and a few distilleries were out of their bottle your own’s. So we had a 1994 Distillery Exclusive Single Cask instead. All of the them were really good, we were Mort-lapping it up…
Glendronach Cask Strength Batch 6 56.1%
Colour: Dark Gold
Body: Medium
Nose: Alcohol and Sherry fruit, herbal, fresh mint sprig, dunnage oak. Fresher with water with some nice lime.
Taste: Amazing fresh lime on arrival, lovely Sherry and chocolate powder, then some malty and spicy notes. Raisin, leather and a little oak.
Finish: Long length. More malt now, some leather and chocolatey oak.
A lovely whisky, really surprised by the freshness but the nose was a bit closed.

I reviewed the 21yo fairly recently and it was just as great as I remember, maybe it deserves an upgrade to 84/100 but my review is here.

Glendronach 1994 Single Cask Distillery Exclusive 54.1%
Colour: Dark Amber
Body: Medium/Full
Nose: A mix of fresh and old, ethereal and minty, sweet Sherry, intense grape. It’s quite closed though, with water that dunnage note comes out.
Taste: Soft, perfect grape, really velvety, looooooooong development, builds to a spicy and malty ending.
Finish: Long length. Black pepper, malt, then chocolate powder.
An immaculate arrival, but that nose is closed again. Bottled 2015 from PX Cask 1189.

Glendronach 18 46%
Colour: Amber
Body: Medium/Full
Nose: Lovely, classic Glendronach, lovely chocolatey malt, nutty, fruity and sugary with brown sugar.
Taste: Rich, nutty first, then malty with a lovely balance. Spiciness building with clove and pepper.
Finish: Long length. Spicy and fruity.
u/generalbirdy managed to blag a sample of this, thanks bro (He bought one too). Very very good, and a great bargain at the moment as it’s over 20 years old. It was great to compare this directly with the 21yo too, and although I still prefer the 21, it was a close call.

Thanks for reading!

Scotch reviews #383-#385
Whisky Network reviews #429-#431

Network Average: 74.5
Best Score: 92
Worst Score: 44
0-49 Terrible
50-59 Bad
60-64 Just About OK
65-69 Ok to Good
70-74 Good
75-79 Very Good
80-84 Excellent
85-89 Superb
90+ Magnificent

Full Disclosure Disclaimer: I currently work as a Brand Ambassador for Penderyn Distillery. The views expressed here are purely my own and do not reflect the views of Penderyn Distillery or The Welsh Whisky Company. I try to maintain as much objectivity as I can but feel free to take my reviews with as big a pinch of salt as you like. Furthermore, my rating scale is NOT based on a Parker type wine scoring scale or a school/college/university % or A-F grade score. You can find more on my scoring here. I apologise for any seemly low or 'bad' scores given with my system and am sorry I can't say only nice things. Please keep in mind that I am ethically compromised and am unable to produce 100% unbiased reviews.

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