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Glendronach distillery is located near Forgue, in the vicinity of Huntley, Aberdeenshire, and was founded in 1826 by Glendronach Distillery Co., a partnership headed by James Allardes (often referred to as Allardice). Shortly after its foundation the distillery was destroyed by a fire, and as a consequence several people from the industry got involved, among them ‘Captain’ Charles Grant (the younger son of William Grant of Glenfiddich distillery). Glendronach remained under control of the Grant family until 1960 when George Grey Grant sold it to Teachers and Sons Ltd. who in 1976 were taken over by Allied Breweries (later known as Allied Domecq). In 1996 the distillery was mothballed but production resumed in 2002. Ownership of the distillery changed again in 2005 when Allied Domecq were acquired by Chivas Brothers (Pernod Richard); during the same year the distillery closed to rebuild from coal to indirect firing by steam and reopened in September. In 2008 Pernod Richard sold the distillery to the owners of BenRiach distillery, led by Billy Walker and his partners. This 18-year old expression, named after one of the original distillery’s founders, was relaunched in 2009 and was 100% matured in Oloroso sherry casks.
The nose is rich and fruity. Notes of sherry and rubber come first, followed by oranges and milk chocolate, with a layer of liquorice in between. Later on there are coffee and leather flavours.
The palate is medium-bodied and silky. There now is distinct wood spice, and orange as well as chocolate flavours are back, accompanied by notes of coffee and nuts.
The finish is of medium length and pleasantly warming. Wood spice is now quite prominent, with ginger making an appearance and followed by a touch of green tea.
This is a solid sherried single malt – but not much else. In particular I missed the balanced and silky palate of similar expressions from other distilleries. Overall, the wood spice influence dominates all other flavours, which should not be the case. The 15-year old from the distillery’s core range provides better value for money.