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After greatly enjoying the 15yo Revival (and to lesser extents the 8yo, 12yo, and 18yo), I looked forward to what the additional influence of PX (and 6 years) would have on GlenDronach.
Nose: Plums or Cola covered with cloves, black pepper, and old books. (Some related descriptions: you can find raisin in the plum, and you can find cocoa in the old books and spices; dates in the old books; and the plum and spice do seem like Cola.) Give this plenty of time, and it softens. Softer is definitely better here! At its worst it is too clove-y and bitter, at its best it is more chocolatey.
Palate: Enters sweet burnt caramel with just a squeeze lemon juice, growing with that cherry-cola/peppery-clove wallop, nearly tipping beyond the right softness of spice. Past the peppery peak, there is an elusive sensation of tannic thickness— some oak-infused chocolate sauce with that cherry-cola overtone, or some dates/prunes. It keeps me coming back to find it and sort it out from the clovey spices….
Finish: Nice Soft old-book/cocoa in the throat, light spice and cola/plum/prune on the tongue. Soft-palate has some of that cherry. Some dry walnut in cheeks.
I had mixed positive experiences with the Parliament, at different times rating it from 85 to 94. I first tasted it from a superb 5cl mini (in 3 sessions) and then from a new bottle. At its “worst” (for me), it was more closed and strongly spiced (nearly as much as the 18yo) and the sweetness comes off like artificial sweeteners; but if you let it breath for PLENTY of time to evaporate those oaky sour and spice influences, then it becomes more balanced (softly spiced). At its best, I got more dates/cocoa/raspberry/vanilla/walnut— and less clove; but I have not been able to recreate that first experience that I had with the mini. I recommend just enough water to bring the ethanol content to 46-47% (10-20 drops to a 3cl pour).
Compared with the 15yo Revival side-by-side, there is (at first) more intrigue and spicy depth in the 21, but I do miss some of the walnut and thick coconut oil of the 15yo. The Parliament 12yo is much closer to the 18yo Allardice. In comparison to the 18yo, the 21yo seems softer in spice (good for me) and generally better for added depth. Outside of GlenDronach, I think my closest comparison is Glengoyne’s 21yo (reviewed a couple years ago), which I recall delivering more spice, but I would need to taste them side-by-side for more accurate comparison.