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This sample was generously given to me by Conrad Gierer. I haven't been able to find out much about it, except that it is one of the Single Cask Glendronach releases. Distilled in 1994, it spent 17 years in a sherry butt (sorry, I don't know what kind of sherry).
The colour is a deep dark red. On the nose - big fat raisins, cloves and dark chocolate, all with a light ribbon of papaya, red grape and freshly ground espresso in the background. To say this shows "sherry cask influence" is a massive understatement! In fact, it's too much - what should be notes of baking spices is actually full-blown Angostura bitters. A bit of sulphur as well, but that note is tamed by water, which also adds some spice. If you love your sherry monsters, though, you'll think more of this than I do.
Very alcoholic on the palate, with more dates, raisins and a huge tannic quality, almost like red wine. More herbal, and less sulphuric, than the nose. There is some fruit in the background but, again, it's just too much full-on sherry. A bit of water helps, but there is still too much burn (and I've now added a fair amount) and with time, it becomes quite bitter. Challenging.
The medium-length finish is great though, full of more red grapes, cigar ash and Christmas cake. I've had many fantastic single cask GlenDronachs, who are masters with the sherry cask; unfortunately, this is not one of them. Far too overpowering - I can barely discern any malted barley spirit in this. Sherry lovers can go to town with this; to others, you have been warned.