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GlenDronach 18 doesn’t get much love. Its 15 year old brother seems to be the brand’s poster child, and a benchmark to which the rest of the range gets compared. As the 18 year old is both more expensive and less “accessible,” it’s perfectly normal that it takes a bit of flak. But we’ve still got to try it, haven’t we?
Nose: Deep, dark, and very fruity. Huge sherry, raisin, Christmas cake, prune juice, strawberry, Terry’s Dark Chocolate Orange, leather, oak, and black forest cake.
Palate: Rich, silky, and mouth-coating. Black forest cake, molasses, Cadbury’s Fruit & Nut, walnuts, raisins, leather, and some cayenne pepper.
Finish: Somewhat long. Gets much nuttier here. Pistachios, walnuts, and hazelnuts. Dark chocolate, molasses, whipped cream, dates, wet oak, ginger, leather, and fennel (think mukhwa).
Thoughts: “Darkness, everyone!” It’s a pretty brooding ‘Dronach. Those Oloroso casks were "active" to say the least. As comparing it to the Revival is mandatory, I’ll start off by saying no, it’s not as good. It’s not as bright or accessible as the 12 or the 15. Closest perhaps in character to the Platinum 16, as it’s a dark, serious creature. It’s murky, with a sweeping molasses note leaving many of the peripheral flavours slightly out of focus.
Still, there’s enough charm here. First, the prune juice nose. No, I wouldn’t want all whisky to smell like this, but it works here. Next there’s the rich, silky mouthfeel, which fools us into thinking it’s a thicker whisky. Finally, the dark, fruity character has both depth and intensity. It’s certainly the darkest of the regular ‘Dronachs, which throws people off, I’m sure. I do think it has a place in the range, although it’s too heavy to come back to with much frequency. Solid, but no legend, admittedly.