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May 2021

GLENDRONACH CASK BOTTLING BATCH 18

View the live tasting here.

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Recently Chad and I had the pleasure of sampling all four casks being released in the United States. This Cask Bottling collection is the 18th in a collection dating from 1993 to 2008. All of the casks have been personally selected by Master Blender Dr. Rachel Barrie. They are chosen for their exceptional character, celebrating some of the finest Single Malt Scotch Whisky from the Highland distillery. This is a first for the U.S. to receive these highly anticipated Cask releases.

This Glendronach Cask Batch 18 features includes maturation periods from 1993, 1994, 2005, and 2008. The Glendronach distillery’s tasting bar is the only location in the world where you can get a dram from all 18 bottles.

Master Blender Dr. Rachel Barrie said: “ This long standing, much loved release is a focal point each year, demonstrating the exquisite character of our whiskies, through these exceptional casks which I have carefully hand-selected. Each cask individually explores the sophistication, powerful intricacy and rich layers of Spanish sherry cask maturation found in every expression of the Glendronach. From the rare vintage casks of 1990 with exquisite layers of dark chocolate and the elegant Victoria plumb, date and bramble preserve notes in the 1992 Port Pipe, to the distinctive fruitcake and toasted raisin notes in the 2009 Pedro Ximenez Puncheon, each cask encapsulates the Glendronach house style; robust, elegant and full bodied. All eighteen casks are bottled without chill filtration for richness, at high strength and are naturally deep in color.”

Resting in the traditional dunnage warehouses of the Glendronach Distillery is an exquisite selection of Spanish oak sherry casks, slowly maturing the brand’s Highland Single Malt. Dating back as far as 1968, the distillery has a rich selection of barrels, hogsheads, puncheons, and butts to choose from. Only the most exceptional are selected by Master Blender Dr. Rachel Barrie each year to celebrate and share the very best of the distillery’s character. Whether they have previously housed sweet and rich Pedro Ximenex, dry nutty Oloroso, or fruit laden port from the Douro Valley; each cask presents uniquely remarkable characteristics whilst remaining distinctively of The Glendronach.

So, on to the details. We received some special chocolates to pair with these expressions: two different “To’ak” aged chocolates, one aged three years in a PX Sherry Cask 76% Cacao, and one aged seven years in Spanish Elm 81% Cacao.  

First sampling was the Glendronach 2008 Cask #3017 aged 12 years in an Oloroso Puncheon (50 gallon Spanish oak cask) 

Color: Golden amber. 

Nose: Candied fruit with baking spices, vanilla, raisins, and a hint of sandalwood. 

Palate: Honey, orange marmalade, nutmeg, ginger, and vanilla.

 

When paired with the PX Cask aged chocolate, the palate became rich and creamy with notes of butter cookies, figs, oak, and cinnamon. To be sure, an interesting experience.

This 12 year old comes in at 59.8% ABV. or 119.6 Proof.

Suggested Retail Price: $120.00

Bottles Produced: 628

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The second Cask sampling was the Glendronach 2005 Cask #1928 aged 14 years in a Pedro Ximenez Puncheon (50 gallon Spanish oak cask) 

Color: Honey

Nose: Sweet honey, ginger, cherry, raspberry, and mocha.

Palate: Orange, blackberry with a hint of gingerbread with a long finish of chocolate. I particularly liked the oily viscosity of this one!

When paired with the Spanish Elm aged chocolate, the palate changed to a very complex dark chocolate and nutty cashew and woody note.

This 14 year old comes in at 58% ABV. Or 116 Proof

Suggested Retail Price: $150.00

Bottles Produced: 612

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The third Cask sampling was the Glendronach 1994 Cask #5287 aged 26 years in a Port Pipe.

Color: Chestnut Gold

Nose:  Strawberry jam, toffee, walnut dark chocolate truffle, and a slight smokiness that Glendronach describes as “the seductive scent of an earthen floor warehouse.”

Palate: Black walnut and black truffle with toffee, cocoa, dark bramble fruit (think raspberries), and a slightly smokey finish.

When paired with the PX Cask aged chocolate, the palate explodes with black truffle cocoa and toffee and the slightly smokey flavor disappears.

This 26 year old comes in at 51.3 ABV. Or 102.8 Proof

Suggested Retail Price: $415.00

Bottles Produced: 638

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The fourth Cask sampling was the Glendronach 1993 Cask #7102 aged 27 years in an Oloroso Puncheon.

Color: Treacle (Think Molasses)

Nose: Spiced bramble, toasted cinnamon, vanilla, walnut, and subtle notes of Oloroso cream sherry.

Palate: Morello Cherry, baking spices, raisin, dates, fruitcake, and a lingering treacle (molasses).

When paired with the Spanish Elm aged chocolate, the palate changed to chocolate covered raisins and almonds

This 27 year old comes in at 51.4 ABV. Or 102.8 Proof

Suggested Retail Price: $600.00

Bottles Produced: 633

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Conclusion: I would be happy to have any one of these bottles in my collection. However, as anyone that follows me knows, I’m a sucker for a viscous mouth feel in my whiskey. To that end, the second iteration of samples hit my sweet spot. The 2005 Cask #1928, 14 year old Pedro Ximenez finish at 116 Proof. It’s solid on all points for me! I wouldn’t take anything away from any of the other expressions, as they are all excellent!

The Glendronach is nestled in the valley of Forgue, deep in the East Highland hills, and is one of the oldest licensed distilleries in Scotland. The Glendronach has carried forth the tradition and time-honored methods of its founder James Allardice since 1826. Its craftsmen work by sight, sound and smell, using traditional wooden wash backs, a copper mash tun, and its distinctive saxophone shaped stills. 

Be sure to click on the link shared with this article to watch Chad and I do a video tasting of these expressions.

 

This was an amazing experience as every bottle, sip, or pour of Glendronach always is! It’s truly a joy to sit back with a dram of this fine whisky. Pick up a bottle today and see for yourself.

Slainte,

Bill