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Glendronach 12 Year Old Original

Average score from 17 reviews and 57 ratings 85

Glendronach 12 Year Old Original

Product details

  • Brand: GlenDronach
  • Bottler: Distillery Bottling
  • ABV: 43.0%
  • Age: 12 year old

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Glendronach 12 Year Old Original

Here’s a review of something that is probably readily available. In Ontario it will set you back $80, so you get 50 cc and 2 years more than with the Benromach 10.

Over the past 2-3 year I’ve gained an appreciation for some lower proof whiskies. It started with some of the Canadian offerings, but then I tasted a few sherry cask matured whiskies at 43%, and I noticed they were enjoyable. I still really enjoy cask strength bruisers, but it’s nice to know that a well-made lower proof expression can satisfy.

My experience with Glendronach thus far is tasting the 15 and the 18 (I preferred the 15), one or 2 CS releases, and 2 single casks in their late teens (one of which was really good and my bottle of it will be opened when I retire from Medicine - it was distilled a month after I started Medical school).

This sample is courtesy of @OdysseusUnbound, and comes from a bottle he opened in April 2018, and poured for me on August 23, 2018, when it was 2/3 full. I opened the sample 2 nights ago and tried a 20 cc pour, and was impressed, and I promised him I would try to get the review done soon so here it goes. According to the LCBO website it is matured in PX sherry casks.

This expression, reviewed in a Highland whisky glass, is reviewed in my usual manner, allowing it to settle after which I take my nosing and tasting notes, followed by the addition of a few drops of water, waiting, then nosing and tasting.

Nose: 22/25

Clearly sherry-matured. I get sweet red wine (like the ones we all remember from Passover Seders or the קדוש following Saturday morning services). I get prunes, some baking spices. Something vegetal there, but I can’t pick out any sulphur (that’s a good thing). Something umami, like roasting beef (in the oven with that seared salty, horseradish/garlic crust). Maybe a hint of mint? Water brings out the vegetal note more, makes it less sweet and more savoury. (22.5/25)

Taste: 22/25

Sweet, with a little alcohol nip on entry. You can taste the sherry influence, a little pepper on the development. Water tones down the sweetness a little, makes the development a bit dryer. (22.5/25)

Finish: 21/25

Peppery, moderately astringent, sweet, fairly long.

Balance: 21/25

The sweetness is just a little too much (and I like sweet things), and I find the sherry influence seems to overwhelm everything else. Still, a tasty dram.

Score: Neat - 86/100 With Water: 87/100

This is a solid whisky. I’ve heard there can be some batch variation, however. If I had more room in my cabinet I would definitely consider picking up one of these. It would be a great one to alternate having open with Benromach 10 and Macallan 12.

Thanks again @Odysseusunbound for letting me try this!

Thanks for the review. I might be mistaken, but I think this is matured in a combination of PX and Oloroso sherry casks. I’ve probably tasted this malt more than any other seeing as it’s my wife’s grandfather’s go-to single malt. I've owned several bottles and have never encountered sulfur. There is some batch variation though. I’ve scored this malt anywhere from 84 to as high as 89. Your notes seem spot on to me.


You may be right about the casks. I just read it on the LCBO website. It's a little pretentious to claim you know more than the smart folks at the LCBO, don't you think? sunglasses


This bottle wasn't mine, but my wife's grandfather only drinks scotch with me, so I've had more than my fair share of the bottle and I feel qualified to evaluate it. It was opened at Christmas and finished this past weekend. Full disclosure: I'm not a huge fan of sherry-bomb type whiskies. Read at your own discretion.

Nose: Raisins, figs, green apples, vanilla

Body: Very rich and full bodied. Very pleasant mouthfeel

Palate: The development is where this malt really shines. Initial notes of raisins/dates and some caramelized sugar, developping to red licorice, finishing with dark cherries.

Finish: medium-long with more dark cherries, and subtle notes of black pepper and oak

Overall, this bottle was very good. Not mind-blowing, but above average, for sure.

That's a nice tradition with your wife's Grandfather. I bought one of these based on various recommendations, but I've been fairly unimpressed by my bottle (which has been open about 3 months) - it's quite ordinary. It definitely appreciates and improves with a bit of time in the glass though.

@Hewie I was a bit divided about how to review this malt. I wouldn't buy a bottle of it, but that's out of preference. I can't really fault the whisky. It's kind of a one-trick pony, but just reading the bottle, one couldn't really be surprised by the taste of fruit, fruit and more fruit. For a sherry-bomb, I feel that it's pretty well-executed. But like you, I'm not blown away by it.


This bottle was gifted to me. I missed the 15 when it was available but I've had my fair share of Glendronachs and I never got dissapointed. let's see what the 12 brings to the table.


The nose treats me ripe red fruits and butterscotch. Milk chocolate, banana and the sherry influence sings loudly.The nose is sweet and a little shy. Some dry oloroso makes an appearance after a couple of minutes. It's fairly simple but very pleasant.

Adding water brings out notes of banana liqueur and more sweet fruits. It also makes the nose come together a bit and makes for a nice bump.


The palate Is very creamy, especially without water, and medium dry. Nutty and sweet with some tart black raisins. Water makes it considerably sweeter, almost a little sugary.


Nutty chocolate, sweet and just barely over-ripe red apples. It dies out with some faded leather and fruity sweetness.

Quite a simple whisky but a good one at that!

@Alexsweden, thanks for your nice review!

I've managed to never have had a taste of Glendronach 12 yo, but I have tasted some other Glendronachs. I always see the same thing in reviews about the 12 yo: people say they like it but they are timid in their praise and they never give it high numbers. Bottom line for me is that I am eager to taste some, but it would be a taste, not a bottle.

I agree with you on this one. I was expecting a little more from it but it is still a pleasant drink and at a fair price. You mention that "the nose is sweet and a little shy" - I certainly found it a bit closed and it takes a while to open up. I was able to pick it up here in NZ for $72 which is about 45 Euros so not bad.


I happened to have three GlenDronachs lying around tripping over each other, so lets compare, shall we?

The GlenDronach 12 Year Old Original is the standard entry point into this wonderful distillery. It is fully matured in a combination of Pedro Ximinez and Oloroso sherry casks. It is non-chill-filtered and non-coloured.

The colour is a dark reddish amber. On the nose, very fruity with plums, rum-raisin, baking spices and lots of oak; this noses older than 12 years. Lots of red berries - and red grapes. Water brings out the malt and spice. Oaky, spicy and well-sherried.

On the palate there is a nice balance of grippy oak, and dark red and black fruits, especially blackberry and date. Cloves. Slightly vegetal, but only slightly. I get a creamier mouthfeel with a drop of water, which works very well. Just right for a fairly young sherried malt.

The finish is rich and deep with more baking spices, wine gums, oak and a very slight hint of sulphur. For a standard 12 year old malt, this is hard to beat, especially if you love sherried whiskies. Could have used with less sulphur at the very death of the finish, but no matter - this is a rich, scrumptious, lovely dram. It scored a Gold at the 2012 International Wine & Spirit Competition, and Jim Murray scores this a 92.

Note that the picture with this review is, I believe, an older bottling. Mine is a recent bottling.

Great review, as usual. All I would add is, who needs overpriced NAS Macallans when you can have this excellent sherried dram for half the price. Cheers.


When I reviewed The Glendronach 12 last year I mentioned that the bottle appeared to be tainted. There was a weird, burnt plastic taste that was quite repulsive. After a week opened, thanks to oxidation, the whisky settled substantially. However, the burnt plastic flavor still remained in the background. But, I knew that it deserved a second chance. And now here it is...a new bottle...Let's get down to it, shall we!

Nose: Big sherry, dark chocolate, over ripen grapes, clove, oak, caramel, dry raspberry tea, hybiscus.

Palate: At arrival, the big sherry dominates with traces of sweet raspberries and oak. Dark chocolate assaults the palate, not just dark, 90% cacao dark. At mid-palate, cloves and cinnamon tingle the tongue. The dark chocolate transforms to milk chocolate with caramel on burnt toast with a pinch of raspberries.

Finish: Medium to long. Slight effervescent. The sweetness resides and becomes semi-dry. A kick of that 90% dark chocolate returns strong and blankets the back of the tongue with certain presicion.

This is a robust 12 year old expression. The sherry influence of both Pedro Ximenez and Oloroso casks creates a three-punch combination of the dark and the milk chocolate followed by the dark chocolate once again. All intertwined in red berries. In the $45-$60 range it's hard to find another single malt with such intense sherry influence. For those budget-conscience, sherry anoraks, seeking a maximum yield sherry bomb, this is it!


Disclosure: This a review that I jotted down on my review notebook about a year ago. I never posted it on Connosr 'til now. I feel that it's about time that I share my thoughts of what happened on that night. It's not a full detailed review like the ones that I usually write. It's more like the experience. I was really looking forward to this single malt because of the praises that I've read on this site and others, including video reviews on YouTube and what-not.

This is what I wrote:

"There seems to be 2 versions of this SM, the 40% and the 43% abv. I had the 40%. I was not pleased with this SM. Its not elegant whatsoever. There are hints of greatness in this dram like, bitter chocolate, sherry, prunes, raisins, oak, But it's short-lived by its wicked, dark forces. There is ashes or burnt charcoal-like finish to this. Its hard to describe. Sometimes I get reminders of burnt plastic. Leaving the bottle open for a day helped somewhat, but this awful flavor persists. Some people may find that taste appealing, but certainly not for me."

A Week Later...

"As I mentioned, there was an overwhelming burnt-plastic like flavor to this SM that was terrible. Now, after a week being opened, that unpleasant taste is mostly gone. But it's certainly hanging about in the background. This has to be the most chameleon-like SM I have ever encountered, once it oxidizes. Still, It is somewhat disappointing. At $65.00, for a 12 year old, there are far better SM out there at a lower price point."

I feel that this could certainly be just a bad batch or bottle, or even something as simple as a bad cork. Who knows. What ever it may be, this whisky deserves a second chance. In the coming months I will be posting another review of this single malt. It will be interesting to see how my palate has changed in the span of a year, hopefully, in a positive way. Because at the end of the day, nobody wants to waste their hard-earned money on bad whisky...


You've gotta bloody right to say . . . Glendronach 12 is a rich, creamy sherry bomb that radiates flavor in your mouth even, though its strength registers at a mellow 43% ABV. But, hey, that's more than Highland Park 12's frugal 40%.

Yes, I know, Glendronach 12 is not the most complex whisky, but it is a great deal for the money.

Here are my tasting notes:

Nose: Sugar plumb, hazelnut, peaches and cream, light oak.

Palate: Buttered white toast, milk chocolate, cashew, fruit compote.

Finish: Medium, caramel, honey, nougat, and a touch of oak.

Where I live (in Oregon, USA), a bottle of the Glendronach 12 sells for $60. I think that is a bargain, given what it has to offer. If you enjoy a sweet scotch, this one has the right balance. It's not sickly sweet by any stretch of the imagination.

The delightful oily mouthfeel and the creaminess really helps to offset the obvious sherry influence. All told, I would venture to say that the Glendronach 12 is a gentle "sherry bomb," if that is possible.

The bottling code should be below the back label, laser printed in black. It will be in the form of 2013/08/27 12:23 then a letter & number code underneath that. I had to hold the bottle to light as the code is difficult to find. Light shining through the bottle makes the black print pop against the reddish gold colored spirit. That's the easiest way I found to read it.

Yes, and judging from comments online (e.g., search Words of Whisky for this expression), it would seem that anything bottled before early 2014 would have to be from old-make, pre-1996 Glendronach (and so be much older). Agree that the bottling code is hard to make out - I needed to use a flashlight to see mine. :)


Delving further into the world of Glendronach. I would not call this one representative of the brand as far as I know, since it is more malty/bourbony than the older and more heavily sherried varieties.

First Vapor: Chocolate covered strawberries, very interesting.

Nose: Walnut oil, hay and honeyed cereal shortbread;
The built-up vapors are sneakers-and-solventy (walnut oil and balsamic). Subsequent breaths are shortbready (cereal-vanilla-butter) hay, with vanilla and faint strawberry follow-up.

Palate: Enters cereal hay, and picks up lemon peel. A strange vegetal hay sustains, and I can get a flash of that strawberry (but savory, stewed). Peaks with mouthwatering honey-cereal, if still vegetal.

Finish: Similar. Slightly drying vegetal tone underlies honeyed cereal and hay.

Very malty for a brand with a sherried reputation, which is explained by a double cask maturation. It seems to me that the sherry affects the nose rather than the palate, with nuts and fruit. Is that hay sensation coming from some peat? Interesting. A sample that was oxidized for a couple weeks did not change dramatically, but it did gain slightly grassier notes (as is common), so I marginally preferred this when fresh.

Within Glendronach, I find this most similar to the Octarine, but less salty grape/pumpkin and more malty hay. I prefer the Octarine by a couple points, for general improved balance. Outside Glendronach, I think I would consider this closest to the HP12— just more cereal honey and less sour. It is also reasonably close to Jura 10 Origin or especially their 16yo Diurach’s Own. The style is also somewhat similar to OP12 and Auchentoshan’s Three Wood (but maltier and less woody), both recommended.

No! Wrong bottle; this should be the "other Original" 12yo, apparently called "Double Cask" here on Connosr-- although not labeled Double Cask on the front of the bottle or packaging.... I guess I have to resubmit. @Jean-Luc can you delete this one?


Pretty much the standard offering from the semi-independant Glendronach. I once had a sample of 9yo bourbon matured single cask Glendronach, so I knew their younger stuff could be very good. It made me want to try the sherry matured as well. This one comes unchillfiltered and no coloring agent was added, which is nice:) Picked it up for only €25,-

Appearance: Reddish brown, pretty colour for a 12yo and after a swirl, the legs take a while to come down.

Nose: without water a bit restrained. Big oak, dried brown spices and woodpolish. With a few drops all the flowery and fruity notes appear. The oak gets softer and the polish makes way for sweet raspberry jam, rose petals and some waxy raisin, creamy chocolate and hazelnut.

Palate: Arrives gently with a light mouthfeel and with a sweet touch, slowly building to the full experience. The waxy note from the nose is there and dances in betweeen the oaky, fruity and nutty notes. Nutty- and spiciness is more pronounced than in the nose but the fruits remain clear as well. There is a nice gentle glow and it gets dry and a little bitter. Nice development here.

Finish: Now this is the part that surprised me a bit... In a good way because its quite long and interesting. The finish turns out to be quite dry with bittersweet blood orange, dry oak, creamy nuts, milk chocolate and the red fruits return too.

While this one doesnt excel in anything, it is very good at a lot of things. Its interesting from nose to finish and its just... very tasty. After one, I want another. This is a pretty, happy whisky which is not too heavy on the soul, nor on the wallet so pouring one more time, surely wont be a crime. Excellent value for money


I think this is my first taste of a GlenDronach. This is the entry level of the range which is matured for 12 years in a mix of Oloroso and Pedro Ximenez casks.

The nose offers nice and very sweet sherry. I have samples of sherry in my cabinet and the smell reminds me of Manzanilla or Oloroso, the Glendronach 12yo is not as sweet as pure PX. But of course this is irrelevant, the final whisky is what counts. I am getting aromas like sweet buttery (pop)corn, crème brûlée, honey, dark berries, ripe sweet apples, bananas and plum.

The palate starts a bit metallic. There are subtle oak spices and sweet dark fruits. I am also getting a very little sulfuric touch. The aftertaste reveals some milk chocolate and the typical sherry influence.

The finish is a bit dry, long and sweet with almonds.

Overall a really nicely made whisky with a good potion of sherry influence. I really enjoyed this one and am looking forward to try more GlenDronachs. I guess I will do this now with the 15yo Revival which I am expecting to be even better...

Nice detailed review. I've tried both the 15 and 18yo but not the 12 strangely enough. Don't hesitate in trying the 15yo Revival - it's an excellent malt and really really good value.

Thx. I also reviewed the Revival. Both are very good imo. You should try the 12yo though!


Natural colour and non-chill filtered, this is a wonderful looking whisky. The colour is rich and deep (amber +1.5).

Nose: Vanilla with subtle toffee. Sherry sweetness lends to a whiff of currants and fruit cake.

Palate: Rich, soft mouth-feel. Dates and figs in the initial sweetness with a sherry warmth. Almost a cognac touch to this one. Toffee cream. Oak wood leading to spiciness towards the finish.

Finish: Medium length, dry finish which balances out the initial sweetness nicely. Surprisingly spicy with hints of ginger after taste making this more than just a 2 dimensional dram.

Tannins abound leave a tea-like dryness after the finish tapers off.

Overall a great experience and a really good introduction to sherried whisky. look forward to trying the 15 yo Revival now. Was reluctant because of the sweetness but the excellent balance in this one makes it very moreish.

Thanks. Only just found out about this website so my profile is pretty empty at the moment I must admit. I am from the UK. I think this review might be in the wrong place. The box/bottle just says Glendronach Original, but is bottled at 43% and is in the same case as the picture for the "double cask". Although this one is matured in two separate sherry casks it doesn't say double cask in the title. Even so I think this review should be under the Double Cask.

Thanks, I can't wait for the 15, I think I might get it soon so I can try them side by side.

I like this one too. An easy-sipper, but full of flavor. If you like the 12, you should love the 15 -- a true sherry classic.


As described by Dave the spirits expert at my local store, this is a big boned but excitable pup with generous energy.

12 yr 43%

  • Nose: pears, plums and hints of prunes, sherry, a little tobacco ginger and orange oil

  • Pallet: more savoury initially, nutty, cereal and some pepper, then plenty of vanilla ice cream, fruits from the nose and orange oil. Very complex for its age

  • Finish: dark chocolate, cocoa, mocha, ice cream, then light and fruity

  • Mark: 8.6

This is a really good whisky and given the price it could well be seen as better than that. At only $75AUD i rekon its bloody good value against the Glenmo 10 ($70AUD) Abelour 10 ($74AUD) or even the Macallan 10 Sherry oak which is up near $100AUD and not necessarily worth its toil.

Just recently, I completed my Glendronach tasting with a bottle of the 15. When you put the price into perspective, this is the Glendronach you want. The 18 leaves you wanting. The 15 is very nice, unquestionably the best of the 3, but is nearly 30 dollars more than the 12YO. The 12YO offers the most amazing blast of milk chocolate and candy I have ever had in a whisky, and to me, that exemplifies Glendronach. It's delicious (and probably older than 12) Get it.


yeh the 12 year old is a touch of class, i do think the 15 is significantly better and worth the extra money. Am yet to try the 18 but your reaction seems to sum up what ive read. 12 and 15 are excellent.

if u ever get the chance to taste or buy their single casks, do it!


To be honest, I was searching for the 15YO, but my choices were the 12 and 18. Well why not start at the beginning? This was right around 54 dollars in Nashville TN. The 18 was selling for 115.

Matured solely in sherry casks, I was expecting a humdinger of a sherry bomb here. Surprisingly, I got something somewhat different.

Nose: Reminiscent of the Balvenie 15. I wasn't expecting that. Honey and butterscotch. Milk chocolate and jerk spices. Raisonettes. I like it a lot.

Taste: This is neat by the way. I rarely add water to my scotch. I tried in the beginning, but it really doesn't do anything for me. Mild honey. Burn comes on very very slowly and never gets intense. Finish is honey and chocolate. Toblerone? Butterfinger?

Lots of chocolate candy notes in this one. But where is the sherry? I just am not getting it at all. This is honey and choccies. And it is smoooooth. I still want to try the 15, but I like this enough as it is to not feel the need to pull the trigger on the 18. Not yet anyway.

Also, I am convinced that this would have been the bomb at 46%. Balvine 15 goes for between 70 and 80 in TN, and at 47% it just barely edges itself out in front of this one. This is a repeat purchase for sure.

I've never tried the 12 year, but I have had the 15 Revival. I strongly encourage you to try it if you like to challenge your palette. It is easily the richest heaviest scotch that I have tried to date. Very dark! I still haven't figured this one out. I was able to pull out some notes on the palette, cardamon, 80% cocoa chocolate, stewed dates. Extremely complex, but makes a delicious dessert on it's own. Thanks for your review on the 12 year old.



Both the GlenDronach 12 yo Original and the 15 yo Revival are among my favorite sherried whiskies. I regard them as subtle and complex versions of the same overall experience. If my tasting evening includes GlenDronach in the lineup, I'll include both expressions and enjoy the natural progression from one to the other.

Nose: Not as heavily sherried as the 15 yo (and it's my understanding that some older bottlings of the 12 yo contain but faint traces of sherry). Very floral at first, although this dissipates in a short time and allows a fruit bowl to emerge. Mostly bananas, red grapes, and orange rind. Traces of tea, fresh-baked yeasty bread dough, and maybe a touch of chocolate.

Arrival: A bit weak, actually, but pleasant enough with touches of caramel and honey.

Development: Again, mild on my palate, but in an interesting and subtle way. I taste the sherry influence mostly at this point. Honey and syrup dominate, with some ginger and pepper sneaking through. Let this one linger on the middle of your tongue for a while -- mmmmm!

Finish: Soft, but multi-layered, long-lasting, and quite satisfying. Delicate, yet very rich. Vanilla cream with sprinkles of white and black peppers.

My first impression of GlenDronach 12 yo was that it was a bit too light and feathery, but it's a grower that keeps revealing more and more with each taste. I have a slight preference for the 15 yo, but this is delicious stuff nonetheless. A good summertime whisky, as well as a fine starter for a tasting session.


Nose: A deep sherried pillow, stuffed with honey-soaked bananas and vanilla-poached peach skins, a duvet of sweetened carrots and lemon cake, and a marshmallow comforter blanket makes this a comfortable, warm and sleepy experience.

Taste: The breeze from the window carries in a warm draft of shortbread, apple and demerara-glazed vegetables, while the nighttime din of orange squash and chocolate covered orange peel serenades our slumber.

Finish: An anxious dream of eucalyptus and sulphur has us turning in our sleep, unable to lie still with the vivid and bitter mint taste, accompanied by nettle, lavender and bitter dark chocolate. A soothing sleeping pill of vanilla oak and lavender has us snoozing peacefully again.

Balance: This is a slightly unsettled dram, yet at the same time very soothing. It is a paradox that comes from its double maturation, which much like a quilt has given it a luxurious and comforting feel, yet the stitching and patchwork is also apparent to see. For some this can be quaint, and for others it can be less elegant than desired. Overall though it is a perfectly warm and cozy companion, understated and without too much fuss.


I really like this as a day to day dram. Rich deep in color and able to stand up to a few drops of water if that's how you feel. I usually don't add any as this is pretty sweeth to begin with, reasonably priced and well rounded.


We continue our journey in GlenDronach land, with the lovely 12 year old which is i’ve learned to know is a favourite of many GlenDronach fans. Matured in a combination of PX (Pedro Ximenez) and Oloroso Sherry Casks, this whisky is the entry level GlenDronach (if we don’t take into account the younger Octarine reviewed last year). This expression is a veteran and has been around even before the BenRiach group took over the GlenDronach distillery (2008) . It’s well priced at around £30, and offers a great value, IMHO.

Nose: Vanilla and dried fruit , honey , cereals and a citrusy edge. A lovely nose. Just like we like them! Palate : Creamy and rich . sherry goodness can definitely be found here. Lots of dried fruit , sweet honeyed and mouth coating. Very nice. Finish ; wood , spice (ginger) cocoa and chocolate, some nuttiness as well.

Bottom line:

I really liked this one. It’s lighter than the 15 year old with a lot less ‘in your face’ sherry nose (minus the balsamico), but still offers a thick and creamy lush sherry experience, with the text book dried fruit, a palate that is very rewarding all for a lovely price. A worthy entry into the Glendronach realm. I need a bottled of this in my bar, a fun and rewarding dram it is, and a great introductory sherry dram for non sherry-monster lovers.


GlenDronach land, a nice place to start the week @galg

I've been living in that land all week long. next stops:

1.Virgin oak finish 2.sauterenes finish 3.Moscatel finish 4.Grandeur 31 year old ;)

i am loving this ride!

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