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I had a rare opportunity to taste with @Paddockjudge, @Maddie and @Victor in May 2017. Because I have so many bottles open I’m often loath to crack the seal on a new one but this was a great opportunity to explore new bottles with friends. This was the third of 4 bottles we opened on the last evening (other reviews will follow).
Glendronach has released quite a few single cask offerings in recent years. In 2015 @Nosebleed was able to collect a 17 YO that was distilled in 1994, about a month after I started medical school. I tasted from an open bottle of his and enjoying it immensely stashed mine away to open on my retirement. Last year he picked this one up for me. We never quite made it to opening it in December and comparing it to the 17 YO. This release was distilled in 1996 and bottled in 2012, from a PX sherry puncheon (cask 1496), and this was bottle 23/497. It was over 2/3 full and gassed after its original use last week.
This expression is reviewed in my usual manner (except I have small pours in both a snifter and a Glencairn), allowing it to settle after which I take my nosing and tasting notes, followed by the addition of a few drops of water, waiting, then nosing and tasting.
Neat – In the Glencairn I get bright fruit followed by deeper prune notes. Slight vegetal note. In the snifter I get a lot more of the bright fruit. It’s sweeter and is a bit like fruit cup syrup. A little spirity. Definitely a richer experience in the snifter. 22/25
With water – In the Glencairn it’s a darker, richer nose, even deeper in the snifter. (23/25)
Neat – definitely sherry, moderately dry on the arrival and then sweet in the development. Less vegetal and sweeter from the snifter. 22/25
With water – Sweeter but fruitier from the Glencairn, the taste is actually thinner and more muted in the snifter. (22.5/25)
Finish: long, sweet (a little too sweet) with a little sour grapes and mouth-drying astringence. 21.5/25, even longer and more astringent with water.
Balance: Good balance between nose and palate, but the sherry is a little too prominent and sweet and masks the spirit somewhat. 21/25
Score: Neat - 86.5/100 With Water: 88/100
I don’t get sulphur on this, though 2 of the others I opened this with did.
I’m really enjoying this with a few drops of water, and I am surprised at the difference between glasses. For this expression, without water, I would go with the snifter. With water, I prefer the nose in the snifter, but, surprisingly, I like the flavour better from the Glencairn.
I think this will require a lot of further study, and not just with this bottle…