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I visited a friend this past weekend to find that his collection of whisky put mine to shame. This is ironic, because my bottles number in the dozens, but he had a mere 6 bottles or so. While I have some absolutely wonderful bottles, I also have some lesser ones which I keep as light sippers and introductory drams. But he clearly prefers quality to quantity, as almost everything he offered me was nothing short of stunning. One of those offerings was a rare GlenDronach 1994 15 Years Oloroso Sherry Single Cask release, specifically for the Taiwanese market. I didn’t know it at the time, but this would prove to be one of the richest and most intense whisky experiences I’ve ever had.
Nose: Wow. Really intense and thick, with an earthy quality to it. I’m reminded of a red wine with heavy tannins. Loads and loads of thick, layered dried fruit. Also herbal notes, most predominantly ginseng. Wonderfully bitter and strong, with a symphony of red fruit.
Palate: Wow. Rich, earthy, musty, meaty, and dry all at once, with no small amount of salt. This goes so much further than a standard sherried whisky. The flavours are so rich they’re almost overwhelming. Again, I taste heavy tannins as though I were sipping a very strong, bitter red wine. The fruit is very complex and layered. Figs, berries, raisins, gooseberries, and plum dominate, but there’s an elaborate symphony of dried red fruit notes just behind it. Although unpeated, there seems to be a smokiness to this dram. Perhaps a result of the meaty notes. I’ve never used steak as a tasting note, but here it is; steak. Also; cured meat. A definite meatiness here. Damn. There’s so much happening here.
Finish: A long, bitter finish with wine tannins and ginseng holding on to the very end. Salt and dried fruits also continue their presence. Bitter and biting in the best way possible. This is amazing.
Typically when we taste a whisky we are actively seeking out notes that might set the dram in question apart from others. This whisky requires no such effort. From the first whiff of the nose I could tell this would be a dramatically unique dram. Not only is this stuff rich and endlessly complex, there’s also an incredible texture here. Thick and chewy. Although this might be hard to find, it’s worth seeking out if ever you find yourself in Asia. This is the penultimate sherry bomb. In terms of intensity, it’s certainly well beyond GlenDronach’s own Revival release. This stuff is more suited to the company of the Kavalan Solist Sherry and the A’bunadh. Extremely powerful and brilliantly unique. A simply amazing dram.