I'm a huge fan of the Glendronach Cask Strength series. Wonderfully sherried whiskies that pack a punch without being too overly sherried, if you know what I mean.
If you've been reading my reviews you know I am dead against over maturation of good distillate. It always feels like someones' trying to hide something. Of course, that need not always be the case.
There are some folks that like their whiskies this way. Sherry bombs they are called, if memory serves me right. I think sherry bombs are a tricky business and walk an oft teetering line between whisky and WTF? Mostly I've realized it's WTF.
Fortunately for me this whisky just about manages to walk that line. It's not as marvellously balanced as other good sherry bombs I've had but I think it manages to keep it's dignity intact.
Matured in both Oloroso and PX casks this is as sherry as it gets.
What's interesting about this review is that I managed to conduct a little experiment (which I saw Ralfy do in his review of the same) and came up with a surprisingly positive result.
One sample I tasted like I normally do. Neat. The other, in order to mellow out the sherry, I covered for 40 minutes after adding a splash of water.
My sample is from a brand new bottle and served at 48%
Nose (22/25): Very strong sherry. Dark chocolate. Cocoa beans. Dark rum. Nuts. Almonds. Walnuts. Spicy oaks. Let it air and it settles down nicely. Becomes more crisp. More sweeter. More brown sugar. Muscovado sugar. There's a hint of sourness. Cold cuts. Dark jam. Honey. Toast. Quite a typical Oloroso nose with some complexity thrown in thanks to the PX.
Palate (20/25): Dark honey. Chocolate fudge. Fruit cake. Cinnamon. Very bold. Almost over the top. Treacle. Dtaes. Licorice. Lots and lots of tannins. Molasses. Overly sweet, far too big. It's not bad but it's just too loud.
Finish (21/25). Better. Extremely long. Oily. Cigar leaf. Touch of oak. Something bitter.
Overall a decent dram if not a bit overly thick and sweet.
With a splash of water and left covered for 40 minutes
Nose: Mellowed out quite a bit. Now vanilla. Delicate rose water. Pistachios.
Palate: Much smoother. More balanced. Touch more spice. Coca Cola.
Finish: Chocolate. Oak
I feel the 40 minutes with water really brought out the more delicate flavors of the whisky. The sherry was cut through quite nicely and I could taste more of the base distillate if you like.
I would rate this one an additional 2 or 3 points higher with water.
While it did not turn water into wine there certainly was something to this exercise. An average dram made good. And I think that's quite a nifty little trick.