This sweet, desert-y port gets its name from its tawny (reddish-brown) color, a hue you’re sure to recognize when you see a whisky aged in tawny port casks. I know there are many people who aren’t all that fond of port cask matured whisky, and it has definitely played second fiddle to sherry maturation over the years, but I’m personally quite fond of the way the sweeter ports interact with whisky, and tawny port does that quite well.
The GlenDronach story with Tawny Port is a bit unusual, as the original release of this finish was a 20 year old, then it shifted to a 15 year old (reviewed here) and is now shifting to an 18 year old. I’m glad to report that I have secured a sample of the 20 year old, for a three way comparison of the 15-18-20 Tawny Port finishes, to be done once I get hold of a sample (or bottle) of the new 18 year old finish. While there has been no official reason given for the change, Alistair Walker, sales director for Glendronach, said in the press release announcing the expression: “We launched our wood finishes range four years ago and the response worldwide has been excellent. We’ve carefully selected whisky that has been gently maturing in lighter casks so that aficionados experience the full impact of the tawny port cask. The very pleasing result contributes extra depth and concentrated stewed fruit flavours. It’s another outstanding whisky that we’re delighted to add to our portfolio.”
This dram, like the 14 Virgin Oak and tomorrow’s Cask Strength (batch 2), were shared with me by Ran Latovicz of the Baron Resto-Bar.
GlenDronach 15 Year Old Tawny Port Finish (46% ABV, NCF, NC)
Appearance: Rosé tinged gold, best described as pinkish. Small droplets remain on the glass for a long time running in very viscous legs.
Nose: Roses in a flower shop, clove, oranges, cinnamon, espresso, milk chocolate, light maltiness. There are very faint notes of cordite and fruity notes including peaches and fresh apricots and touches of balsamic vinegar and chocolate cake.
Palate: Semi-dry wine-y notes, sweet on the tongue with light lemon zest, chocolate pralines, instant coffee with milk. spices then red and black pepper come to the back of the tongue and are noticeable going down the gullet. The whisky is thick and full bodied.
Linger: Medium with cinnamon and clove, some aniseed and tannins leaving a tartness on the tongue.
This is a delightfully complex whisky, mixing sherry notes with the port for an excellent effect. This expression is very layered and rewarding, while remaining light and very easily drinkable. I wonder how the extra three years of maturation will effect the soon to be available 18 year old.