From Sean Russell’s review of the newest GlenDronach expressions (batch 16 review, see here), I’ll take us back to the old style, to the 1990s style 15 year old.
This was the distillery style before the 1996 mothballing, so we’re basically talking about the same style of distillation and casks that we were getting with the GlenDronach 15 Year Old Revival before its temporary hiatus, with this bottle serving as a prime example of the real reason to refrain from chill filtration and to present whisky at 46% ABV. The Revival, reviewed here (and incidentally the top read post on this blog). If you compare the two expressions, you’ll find their similarities instantly – from the cask signature to the sooty directly fired stills. Only the Billy Walker 15 year old is more robust, fuller and is just overall a better dram (once you discount the novelty of the old expression). If anybody needs proof that all whisky should be non chill filtered and served at 46% as a minimum, these two drams would be it!
GlenDronach 15 Year old, 100% Matured in Sherry Casks, 1990s bottling (40% ABV)
Appearance: Copper, thin legs running off a sturdy necklace.
Nose: Old sherry, quite sulfuric, almost obscuring the dried fruit and the leather. Cherry jam with a hint of orange blossom and some of the sooty (but not quite smoky) note.
Palate: Somewhat watery, with bitter wood, white pepper and very tame clove, with a burnt note and a hint of soot.
Linger: Bitter and dry, with a tingle of spice, but almost nothing down the throat. Tangy on the inner cheeks, and spicy overall.
The direct fired stills are very much present, as are the old style sherry casks, but compared to the newer Revival, it’s just not up to the same drinking quality.