My local retailer, Wine and Flavors, held a GlenDronach tasting on Wednesday. This store is at a great location, being only 650 meters (or about 2200 feet) from my house, and has the absolute best selection of whisky in Israel, with a rather impressive selection of independent bottlings imported by the store itself. Also, the store recently opened a tasting room, which also houses the whisky collection, so every visit is a pleasure. Originally, the tasting was supposed to be of the GlenDronach core range with a 1995 single cask bottling of GlenDronach, so I wasn’t planning on going, but then things became interesting as it was announced that a representative from the distillery will be leading the tasting, making it a learning opportunity for me. Thus, I registered and came to the tasting.
BenRiach’s official importer to Israel is Anotka, and we’re slowly starting to get the core range of both BenRiach alongside the GlenDronach core which are already here. Local pricing to me is an issue, but when I raised the issue with the importer I was told that their allocations are unable to keep up with demand on all the GlenDronach expressions. Since it appears the local market is willing to gobble up whatever stocks come into the country at whatever price, I guess pricing here just is what it is.
Added to the lineup were two BenRiach expressions, the Heart Of Speyside, added to the lineup by Osher Peretz, the owner of Wines & Flavors, and the 16 year old that was added when it became available in Israel, a few weeks back. While the 16 year old is an enjoyable clean ex bourbon matured whisky, although it’s rather one dimensional, the Heart of Speyside didn’t excite me.
After the two BenRiach expressions, we went up the GlenDronach core. Once again confirming to me that my favorite is, indeed, the 15 year old Revival, which will sadly be unavailable for three years or so. After tasting the full vertical again, I can’t help but wonder if the 15 doesn’t have a bit of PX matured whisky thrown in…
David led a rather informal tasting, taking a lot of questions and dispensing information rather freely. It was a real pleasure to have such an frank and open talk in such a public setting. My friend Assaf translated David into Hebrew for some of the participants, and added from his own very extensive whisky knowledge.
Anyway, the 1995 single cask was excellent (and merits its own review), and then came a surprise: The importer brought a bottle of the BenRiach 35 as a surprise bonus dram, and it was a very fitting coming just three days before my birthday 🙂
And yes, it’s good!
BenRiach 35 Year Old (42.5% ABV, NCF, NC)
Appearance: Mahogany, steady necklace with droplets.
Nose: Anise, leather, spearmint gum, sherry sweetness, melon, a more woodsy star anise and a hint of vinegar. There’s also honey, a light fruit compote and oak, with a faint hint of smoke. The anise and gum and absolutely stunning
Palate: Viscous and dry, sweetness and some bitterness, a lot of oak, gentle red berries, a light old wood flavor behind honey and a hint of citrus.
Linger: Spice high in the throat, the tannins linger in the mouth giving a very drying effect. A dry spice leaves the mouth with a concentrated linger for a long time, turning after a few minutes sweeter.
Dignified, tasty and fascinating. This expression is actually relatively new, as it was released last year to replace the old 30 year old and is from the time that the distillery was owned by Glenlivet. There are both sherry and bourbon casks in the mix here, but the ratios are unspecified.
Put this on your “drams to taste” list. It’s different and is very enjoyable.
Thanks, Assaf, for making sure I DID register for the tasting 🙂