Continuing the series of reviews on the GlenDronach core range we’ll have a wee dram of the 12 years old Original. The bottle I’m currently imbibing was bottled on June 26, 2013. If you took a look at the 15 Years Old “Revival” review I posted on Saturday, you know that any 12 year old bottled before May 14th 2014, is actually up to six years older than its stated age, in my case, anywhere between 17-18 years.
While the 15 Years Old “Revival” and the 18 Years Old “Allardice” are matured in Oloroso Sherry casks, the 12 Years Old and the 21 Years Old “Parliament” are aged in both Oloroso and Pedro Ximenez Sherry Casks. The mix in the 12 is more heavily weighted toward the dryer (and spicier) Oloroso casks, while the 21 is clearly heavily weighted toward the PX.
An interesting and little known fact is that the 12 years old you’re still buying (probably for the next few months) is the last of its kind where the malt was dried over a coal fire at the distillery. This practice was not renewed when the distillery rekindled the fires under the stills (literally, since the practice of working the stills with a coal fire was continued until 2005, when steam heating was installed in the stills), and all of the malt used since resuming production is commercially malted and air dried.
Glendronach 12 Years Old ‘Original’ (43%ABV, NCF, NC)
Color: Bronze, slow and thin legs.
Nose: Rich dried fruit, demerara sugar, faint sulfuric scent, maple syrup, something mechanical (old machinery), barley malt sugar, red berry preserve (like the St. Dalfour Four Fruits Preserve), chocolate syrup on ice cream vanilla and some really faint smoke.
Palate: First feel is almost like dark rum, then the spices (clove and pepper) come through with something very fresh and very soft smoke in the background.
Linger: Warm spice at the back of the gullet, some tartness on the inside of the cheeks and notes of cranberry.
This is a lovely dram. Very Glendronach, yet somewhat different. It will be fascinating to track this dram over the next few years to see the transition from the old, pre 1996, lightly peated stock – now close to 18 years of age – to the non peated commercially malted stocks post 2002. Judging be what I’ve seen coming out of BenRiach and the way the older Glendronach stocks were handled, I’m pretty sure the quality of this expression will be retained. Nevertheless, over the next couple of years, this expression is going to get a whole lot younger.