Glendronach’s reputation has been on the rise for the past few years. It first came to my attention when Ralfy did a review of the 12 year old and gave it high praise for the quality of malts that were being produced. I was not disappointed when I tried the 12 year old. Here I will be trying the 15 and 18 year old. There has been a lot of fuss about the 15 year old recently when it was discontinued because of low stocks and then reintroduced. The newer version did not receive the same praise as the previous version. Luckily I managed to get hold of a sample of the previous version which I will be reviewing here. The 18 year old is also another that popular amongst those that are into whisky and I have to say at the price of approx. £80, given the reputation this distillery has and the fact that they bottle at 46%, non-chill filtered and use no colouring – this price tag represents good value for money. I was looking forward to trying these two.
Whisky: Glendronach 15 Year Old Single Malt Whisky, 46%
Nose: Leather, varnish, oak, plums, raisins, oak, earth, barley
Taste: Malt, ovaltine, honey, raisins, spiced orange, hazelnut, strawberry
Finish: Leather, raisins, tobacco, hazelnut
Summary: I believe the hype about this one. The leather, tobacco and hazelnut notes gives this whisky an old school feel. The malty notes are present throughout and the dried fruity notes are lush and not dull like I get with many sherry matured whiskies. This suggests to me that Glendronach are using some very good casks. I did not pick up any tannin notes either. This is well balanced and delicious, it is dangerously drinkable. I am keen to see how the new 15 year old compares.
Whisky: Glendronach 18 Year Old Single Malt Whisky, 46%
Nose: Tart, citrus, varnish, leather, cinnamon, porridge, blackcurrant cordial, dry spice
Taste: Cereal, alcohol heat, chilli, red wine, roasted malts, earth, dark chocolate
Finish: Dark chocolate, chilli, tobacco, damp cardboard
Summary: This one has a sharp characteristic to it. Citrus tart stands out on the nose from the beginning along with blackcurrant cordial. There is some spice to add to that sharpness. I am not sure if I like this characteristic or not. These notes do soften down over time and with water and maltiness and dark chocolate notes comes more to the fore supported by an earthy note, which makes me wonder if there is some peat influence in play here. The alcohol feel more present in this too. I prefer the 15 year old to this because I prefer the balance and texture. Saying that, I still think this is a good value 18 year old whisky.
Scoring scale: My scores reflect a balance of the overall experience, availability and cost for a whisky,
1 – not to my preference
2 – tastes fine but does not excite me
3 – more to my liking and would revisit occasionally
4 – very much to my liking and would consider as a regular feature on my whisky shelf
5 – permanent feature on my whisky shelf
Image source: www.thewhiskyexchange.com