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Here’s a 19 year old cask strength GlenDronach, distilled in 1995. Apparently this was released for the German market. Despite having a vintage listed, it’s not a single cask offering. I’ve never been one to turn down a good sherried dram. Let’s try.
Nose: Very sherry. Sultanas, dates, raisins, wine tannins, Christmas cake, dark chocolate, nutmeg, black grapes, plum, caramel, and grapefruit. Not unexpected, but big and rich.
Palate: Sweet, fruity, and big, with a medium mouthfeel. Heavy sultanas, dates, raisins, figs, and the like. Caramel, plum, grapes, bubblegum, and brandy.
Finish: Long and sweet, transitioning very organically from the palate. The huge, fruity sherry notes keep coming. Plum, caramel, caramelized fruit, grapes, brandy, figs, dark chocolate, Cadbury’s Fruit & Nut, sultanas, and faint coffee. A bit of bubblegum? Yup.
Thoughts: It’s a solid GlenDronach for sure. Nothing off point. All I can say is that I prefer a lighter sherry touch when it comes to older bottlings. Age brings with it subtlety and nuance, and when an older whisky is too heavily sherried many of those delicate notes are overwhelmed. Of course it’s still a fantastic dram, but the deep, intense sherry notes don’t let the 19 year old spirit say much. I think using fewer sherry-forward or fist-fill casks might have benefitted this one. For me, this takes a certain mood. At the wrong time it’s rather heavy and sweet. At the right time it’s deep, lush, and satisfying. There’s a lot to like here. There’s a nice grapey presence, as well as a cool bubblegum note on the finish. It’s huge, balanced, rich, sweet, and fruity all day long. The cask-strength sherry boys will be in heaven. Delicious and powerful stuff, but hardly Dronach’s best bang-for-buck.