This note is a non-blind blind tasting note. Still with me? I’ll explain: just as I was gearing up to taste this Glendronach 1994 from batch 7 (as it turned out to be), I caught an epic cold. So epic that it completely incapacitated me for 3 days and took out my olfactory organ (that would be that thing in the middle of your face) for another 2. So I missed the deadline for Yapi’s blind sample for the week.
Rather than trying to shield myself from the info I decided to let bygones be bygones and taste this one in full knowledge of the contents. Though I am quite certain my nose is up to 90% of its former glory, I still held back a tad on the finer details in these notes just to be sure. Luckily, this sample is anything but subtle.
Glendronach 18yo 58.2% (part of batch 7) Distilled 28th of January 1994 Bottled October 2012 Oloroso Sherry Butt #98
The nose hits you with wood, sherry and some acidity. Well hot damn! Seems we’ve strayed into sherrybomb country, partner! Hobby glue is next, along with more wood spices. This smells quite European oak to me, but though not impossible that does seem unlikely. With some water I get oranges and vanilla (ah, american oak after all?). With time the nose calms down and lets more of the fruit speak while the wood recedes.
In the taste there is aromatic oak and cigar cases with a heady mix of tobacco and cedar wood (try licking one, sooo worth it). The fruity taste I distinctly get is dried apricot as well as some sultana raisins. With added water some nutty flavours appear.
Overall both smell and taste remind me of a more sherried, less spicy version of the Glen Garioch 22yo I reviewed earlier on this blog. When set side by side the Glen Garioch is sweet vanilla, with the black tea note now almost overpowering, whilst the Glendronach is very dry in comparison and has a much more overpowering sherry presence and a sudden hint of cherry as well.
Glendronach has proven time and time again these past few years that they know how to produce quality sherried whisky, and this one certainly doesn’t buck the trend. Sherried to the edge, woody to the edge, but never crossing it. The sherry expresses itself in a slightly acidic orange fruit style (apricot, mandarin), which I actually prefer to the much darker raisin and heavy woodspice of the much lauded ’72 Glendronachs. Even taking a point off for it not being the most complex dram, that still leaves 88 points