In a guest post that has proven to be one of the most popular posts on the site, Jun Nunez of Whisky Blasphemy did a head to head review of the GlenDronach 18 and the Macallan Sherry Oak 18. After enjoying a dram of the 18, I realized that I didn’t publish my own notes on it, despite doing so for the rest of the core range (you’ll find the 12, 15 and 21 reviews by clicking on the numbers). By the way, my review of the GlenDronach 15 is by far the most popular review on this blog.
I was remiss, and make amends today.
For the next few years, the 18 year old is probably one of the better value buys on the whisky market. Stocks going into it are, as of this year, older than 18 – as the distillery was mothballed in 1996, and remained silent until May 2002. So the first 18 year old whisky we’ll be seeing off the new ownership won’t hit the market until May 2020, which is still a ways off. As you know, GlenDronach announced a moratorium on the production of the 15 year until the new stocks come online in the second half of 2017 (or 2018, pending on how quickly production actually got up to full speed in 2002). Judging by the 15 year old, there’s a decent chance that the latter part of the gap (2017-2020) will be marked by a temporary stoppage of the bottling of this expression.
Should we expect a difference between the old and the new stock? Yes, but a small one. The stills used to be directly fired with coal, and the older expression have a hint of coal smoke in them, which the newer will probably lack. But after tasting a youngish single cask distilled in July 2002 and bottled at 11 years old I can assure you that if you liked GlenDronach before (and come on, who doesn’t….), you’ll remain a fan 🙂
GlenDronach 18 Allardice (46% ABV, NCF, NC)
Appearance: Dark mahogany, quick and thick legs, staying on the necklace with droplets.
Nose: Deep sweet sherry, note of coal, wood spices with cinnamon, clove and nutmeg, dried fruit (dried cherries and prunes), confectionery notes and a touch of hearty maltiness.
Palate: Sherry sweetness, wood spices, clove, pepper, slight bitterness that comes through in the second wave.
Linger: Very peppery, sweetness, dryness on the tongue and on the inside of the cheeks.
Downright wholesome sherry matured whisky. Really great stuff. We used to have these arguments about the 18 vs. the 15 (I’m in the 15 camp, btw), but those are moot now anyway as the 15 is currently off the market…