Today we complete our reviews of the Glendronach core range, the 12 Original, 15 Revival, 18 Allardice and the 21 Parliament.
Close your eyes….OK, that was silly! If you close them, you can’t go on reading this post 🙂
Instead, imagine a thick sweet PX sherry with almost three times the alcohol. That’s the first impression of the Glendronach 21 year old Parliament. With this expression, we’ll be drinking pre-mothballing stock until 2023, at which point the 21 year old will actually be 27 years old. However, there’s still time until we get there, as we’re currently drinking the 1993 distillate, when the barley was malted on the premises, a touch of peat was applied to the coal fire, and the stills were directly fired.
The 21 is it’s own special animal. Syrupy and heavy, this isn’t an every day dram. In fact, in the sweltering heat of the Tel-Aviv summer, it can be somewhat overpowering. But it’s so good, that after basking in the air conditioned chillness recreating Tel-Aviv’s sorry excuse for a winter for a couple of hours (16-18 degrees C), I’ts truly magnificent.
By the way, the 21 year old is named ‘Parliament’ not for the British Legislator, rather for the parliament of rooks that has been living on the property for centuries. The rooks played an important role in keeping the taxes “manageable”, as the rooks served as an early warning system for the arrival of the excise collectors. Personally, I’m just glad it was rooks and not crows that settled on the grounds 😉
Glendronach 21 ‘Parliament’ (48% ABV, NCF, NC)
Color: Deep Copper, thick and slow legs.
Nose: Sweet dark raisins, prune compote, brown sugar, very ripe fresh dates, some light smoke and dried figs with notes of very faint sulfur – not in a bad way. This expression has some oak on the nose, which wasn’t present in the younger expressions.
Palate: Rich and thick, fruity, dense and chewy – almost “Mortlach-y”. The sherry is dominant, with notes of raisins and nuts (I couldn’t peg it as walnut until the finish, when it became clear), fresh black cherries, blackcurrant and that very faint smoke, closer to wood smoke than peat.
Linger: Long, with walnut and notes of dried fruit and spices with a hint of smokiness. The sweetness stays with you.
This expression takes the term ‘heavily sherried’ to new heights. The PX imparts a very heavy sweetness, and yet this isn’t the best expression in the core range. That title belongs to either the 15 or the 18, shifting to the last one I’ve had.
Great write up, and cool to know about the etymology of the name. Though I disagree with the conclusion (this is my favorite of the three and I actually find it more complex and less single-mindedly sweet than the 15) they’re all magnificent drams. In my opinion the only better products from ‘Dronach than this are some of the single barrels, which of course you now need to start review in order to complete your faithful reporting on the line. There’s only like 20 of them so Godspeed. 🙂
Smokybeast, I agree with you. Though this is a good review, the conclusion is way off. To me the 15 tastes young. I love it, but I have compared all three to Macallan 18. I think Mac 18 finishes better on the palate than Dronach15. But I do believe that Dronach 18 and Mac 18 are so close that it is a matter of preference. Dronach 21 is on another level and really is a league above the others and should be compared more to Mac Rare Cask.