Together with the news that Billy Walker is moving on, which is hardly surprising following the BenRiach’s sale to Brown-Forman, came the announcement of his successor, Morrison Bowmore’s Rachel Barrie. Rachel will be taking over the helm for BenRiach, GlenDronach and Glengalssaugh, and I admit to being curious to see what she’ll do with the very fine spirits coming out of these three distilleries.
I’ll admit to being somewhat apprehensive as to the amount of attention Glen Garioch will get from MBD after Barrie’s departure. Rachel has a soft spot for Glen Garioch, telling the story of her first taste of whisky, some of their local distillery’s liquid given to her by her grandmother, Glen Garioch 8, and has given attention to Glen Garioch, despite a corporate lack of focus on what should rightfully be the jewel in their portfolio. But we’re here to look at GlenDronach…..
Despite not being enamored with the Peated GlenDronach, (reviewed here) I found the Hielan’ fully worthy of carrying the distillery label. In today’s NAS market, an age statement is a welcome thing, and as this expression as well as the Glenfarclas 8 and the Lagavulin 8 have shown that distilleries need not fear releasing young whisky and telling the consumer the truth about the whisky. I hope we see more distilleries tale this path.
GlenDronach 8 The Hielan’ (46% ABV, NCF, NC)
Appearance: Gold, thickish legs.
Nose: Definitely a GlenDronach with warm porridge, honey, vanilla and light orange blossom. Water brings out a lot of fresh notes under a predominantly cereal-y nose.
Palate: Malt, honey sweetness and some pepper, with orange and some orange zest.
Linger: Medium, spicy and slightly bitter with an underlying sweet note.
This is a GlenDronach, even through the predominantly bourbon cask matured liquid. This is a pleasand everyday drinker, and holds its own in the GlenDronach lineup, especially for those days you want something less on the sweet side.