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Glendronach 21 Year Old Parliament Sherry Cask

Average score from 8 reviews and 13 ratings 88

Glendronach 21 Year Old Parliament Sherry Cask

Product details

  • Brand: GlenDronach
  • Bottler: Distillery Bottling
  • ABV: 48.0%
  • Age: 21 year old

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Glendronach 21 Year Old Parliament Sherry Cask

I had this two years ago and it was still imprinted on my mind when I managed to purchase a bottle entirely for myself just recently. Stoked!

A number of people have already noted this is an absolute sherry bomb, and now having had a few more whiskeys in the past two years I see what they mean. It's sherry city!

However, this still remains the most pleasurable and satisfying scotch experience I've ever had. It ticks all my boxes - memorable, rich, original and full on the palate. Finally, it is very drinkable despite all it's idiosyncracies.

Now comparing it to the Glendronach 12 and 15 it stands out head and shoulders. I think I need to grab another bottle to put away for a while!

Sounds like a nice whisky. I'm particularly impressed with the respectable ABV %. I've always liked Glendronach, even though I'm mainly a peat-head. Do you think you could share some tasting notes on this one? I'd love some more details.

Agreed, this is great stuff! I always find it super Sherry rich and dry which I like.

@MaltActivist

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.

Thanks Ralfy.

@vanPelt

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.

Thanks @rigmorole, I had the same reaction! I loved the 15yo Revival and expected the extra years and PX influence to build on that base. Then I tasted the Parliament and thought it was wonderful, with some long-sought raspberry-cocoa (even though I tasted something "extra" I knew I would have to come back and analyze). I thought it was a 94, and I was almost upset that others rated it below 90.

But as I kept coming back to it, I think I realized that I was somewhat caught up in the "extra"-- those complexities I still needed to ponder and tease out. These turned out to be soured pepper-spice (oak bitters) and Diet Cola. Point is, if I drink it while trying not to think much about it, it's not so "stimulating", so to speak.

It's always interesting to hear reviews of this one and I'm always surprised they aren't higher (90 or higher) but they aren't. Thanks VanPelt

@Pandemonium

Don’t think anyone is going to fight me on this, but Glendronach is one of the best distilleries out there at the moment. The miracles in cask selection the people of Billy Walker performed after the take-over in 2009. So much that the 15yo revival in no time, became an all-time favorite with the whisky crowd. So what about one of its older brothers: next to the 18yo the official range offers a 21yo expression, called Parliament.

Colour: red amber, given that Glendronach does not add any e150 to their bottlings, it is quite impressive

Nose: great nose, with lots of elements that I generally associate with other beverages. Powerful but refined notes of sherry and lighter tones of sweet wine, rum and coffee, a bit bitter, dark chocolate and some slightly meaty tones, like cooked ham. Underlying are notes of chopped parsley, some fruity elements: oranges, figs and cherries, with a whiff of peaty smoke. Lastly, a strange hint of latex paint, but not unpleasant.

Mouth: fresh grape juice on the palate evolves into bitter tones of coffee, orange, blackberries, more notes of ham, with spices: cloves, ginger and nutmeg,

Finish: long and lingering. More notes of wine and coffee, a touch of liquorice, lychees, dark chocolate, strips of leather, tobacco, with a light undertone of vanilla and orange oil.

Conclusion: A beautiful nose that reminds me of other sherry monsters, but less rough and much more refined. Fine on the palate, though the nose raised my expectations and it didn’t completely live up to it. Then again, this is a very fine whisky, smooth and not in any way abrasive (even for a 48%ABV). I’m just going to say it, this is another great whisky, The charismatic 15yo has a wiser, posh but smooth brother and it will be hard to choose.

No notable traces of sulphur. Than again, I've never had any bad encounters with sulphur before that were too dominant and ruined the whisky. Glendronach is a smaller distillery owned by a smaller player in the field, so they'll have a hard time obtaining any premium sherry casks.

Plus recharring seems like really bad idea. Sherry casks are normally never charred like their American counterparts, only toasted. (Maybe an explanation for the sulphur hints doesn't come from sulphur candles but from casks that have not been toasted enough to absorb the sulphur that remained after the distillation process) The goal of maturing the whisky in a sherry cask is to add the fresh and fruity elements of the sherry to the whisky, charring the cask would probably ruin those influences. And why would you invest in a sherry cask, then?

Any sulfur in the finish? Rumors of sulfur have kept me away from the 21. Wish Glendronach would rechar their barrels more to burn off the sulfur. Ditto with Bladnoch

@Volks

This is a big time sherry monsters from one of the leaders in that field. This Parliament is an absolute bargin at around $180 (AUD). While i think the Allardice (18 y/o) is a bit locked up, this is grand and beautiful.

  • Nose: Burnt toffee, figs, dark chocolate, plums, maraschino cherries, raisins and honey glazed ham with rum notes of molasses and Demerara sugar. Also a big note of Pedro Ximinez sherry with some savoury notes of ash (as in ashes) and cedar wood along with a hint of parsley. With water more Demerara sugar and ham are more pronounced along with regular toffee (not burnt) some leather and a hint of toast.

  • Pallet: muscular and dense, coffee Christmas cake, crystallised ginger rum again with ham, pepper coffee some wood and gentle herbal influence. With water regular ginger more mocha/coffee and ham.

  • Finish: spices, clove and cumin with dark chocolate English breakfast tea and a pop of lychee right at the back. With water more old sherry notes, leather, tobacco and tea

  • Mark neat – 8.6, with water 9.1.

Simply excellent!

@vanPelt Good spot. Hard to split on the preferences front, i think its fair to say that the 15 has a little more contrast to it, theres greater disparity between the sweet and savoury, the 21 is a bit more burnt (in a positive way of course) and a bit less fresh fruit. Hope that helps

You know, I have to wonder if the Parliament has newer batches that are superior. Anyone know? There are no bottles in Oregon to check. Glendronach bottles have very fine laser etching below the label on the glass. Can somebody with a very good bottle tell us if it is 2013? The Glendronach codes are (thankfully) not hard to decipher if one can make out the etchings which are very light indeed

@sengjc

Nose: Rich and opulent, sweet, slightly alcoholic, intense and fruity.

Palate: Burst of sweet grape, like the nose: intense, spice then wood then fruit, I don't know where it ends and where it starts, just a medley of flavour all at once yet utterly smooth and silken then creamy. A touch of sulphur seems to mar the otherwise impeccable delivery. Gently warming then dry and fruity like dried fruit.

Finish: Long and lingering, semblance of coffee and cocoa then wood and cigar box cedar. Tea like notes emerge.

Final thoughts: A sherry monster in sheep skin disguise. Veritable iron fist in a velvet glove.

The 15 Year Old Revival is very good for the price and I will say is probably better value between the two. It probably has a cleaner palate and a "fresher" sherry profile. However, there is plenty of feedback on the forum that indicates the consistency between batches can vary noticeably.

The 21 Year Old Parliament has a portion of PX Cask matured malt and is sweeter, perhaps more intense as a result. The PX Cask maturation adds a different dimension to the flavour profile too - reminiscent of cognac.

Also adds an element of spiciness, some say, but to be honest, I personally didn't think it was all too spicy - probably because I am ok with spicy food.

How would you rate this compared to the 15 year old? My impression is that it is the best of the bunch. Personally I haven't had the pleasure of trying either yet.

@NEJ

I have been saving this bottle for a special occation, and yesterday i just finished one of my last exams. It turned out to be a wonderfull whisky, which really got my creative juices flowing. Hence here is my first review:

Nose: Initially i got this very spicy note, complimented by that sherried jammy sweetness, that i have come to love in my GlenDronachs.

Palate (with water): Prunes, a lot of vanilla, some fudgy notes and perhaps cinnamon.

Finish: Blackcurrant jam, and at the end some spicy peppery notes.

Conclusion: This is a wellmade bigbrother for the younger Dronachs in the core range. I am not going to compare it against the others, because I consider each of the Glendronachs I have tried to be unique, and well worth the price. I am allready looking forward to the next time I have an excuse to open it:-)

And i forgot it is quite dry towards the end..

@galg

Nose: Rich luscious and sexy sherry profile. Very sweet. Golden syrup. Honey. Dried fruit especially plums and raisins. A tad vinegary. And a tad meaty too going to bouillon country quite fresh for the age of 21!

Palate: Pepper, plum juice. Double espresso getting dry with a peppery edge going on.

Finish : Dark chocolate. Espresso and pepper. Plum jam.

Bottom line:

This is a very good dram, thick, powerful nose and palate, one sherry lovers and sherry heads will surely appreciate. I was a bit surprised by the peppery tang on the palate I was not expecting, but is not unpleasant. I would rate this one a point or two less than the 15 year old. Recommended if you appreciated sherried drams and liked the profile of the 15 year old and want to dive deeper into the Glendronach offering.

Thanks for the good review. Thinking of getting this one but it seems as if the recent crop of sherry expressions muddle into one another with no real discernable flavor profiles. What do you think?

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