The Glendronach Cask Strength is part of a trend of age statements being exchanged for high abvs. We’re told that declining stocks and rising consumerism here in the east is taking a toll on the industry’s older stuff. Of course, while we do love our older stuff, the industry knows that we’re also suckers for anything at cask strength. It makes sense, I suppose it is the most practical way to appease us. Of course, this issue is not unique to Glendronach, so I’m note zeroing in on this bottle specifically. But we’ll be seeing more of this kind of thing in the future. Luckily, it doesn’t always spell disaster. Some pretty good Cask Strength NAS whiskies are hitting the shelves these days. This is one of them.
Nose: Rich and heavy. Huge sultanas, sherry, marzipan, apples, cherries, wet oak, a touch of menthol, and some baking spices.
Palate: Thick and mouth-coating. Milk chocolate, banana, cherry, table syrup, vanilla, cashews, and woodspice. Brilliant intensity.
Finish: A crescendo of baking spices carries us into a drying, musty oak note. Cherries, chocolate, sultanas, earth, leaves, and must. Very “natural” flavours to this, and great intensity.
I tried this immediately after opening it, and I didn’t love it. It tasted young. But when I checked back two weeks later it had opened up beautifully. The young notes had dissipated, and the flavours had reached a nice balance. This whisky has a thick, sweet, syrupy quality that combines with a musty oak note, which ironically reminds me of bourbon. Of course the rich, complex, sherry-forward house style of Glendronach is still at the core of the whisky. Unsurprisingly, ‘Dronach has crafted another solid offering for sherry lovers.
Thanks for the comments, guys. @Nozinan, good call on letting it sit. I think you'll find a lot of the rough edges get evened out after a couple of weeks.
For me it's somewhere between A'bunadh and Farclas 105. It's smoother and more refined that the 105, which at times can be rough and youngish. The Dronach CS has the depth and complexity of A'bunadh, but doesn't quite match it's maturity and sophistication.
I like them all, actually, and I expect to be drinking more of them as winter and Christmas approach. Cheers!
Might as well go for the a'Bunadh if you want A'Bunadh quality. I tried the batch 2 and I found it a bit harsh and young, similar to the Glendronach 105 sample bottle I tried.
However, both were fresh bottles, and unfortunately for the dronach, it was in Calgary and is long empty. I have a batch 2 at home, and when I open it I'll be sure to give it lots of time, both in the glass and in the bottle after opening.