This is my first Glendroach cask strength. It's 10 years old matured in Oloroso and PX casks. Bottled at 61%. Batch 8 released in 2019.It was a Christmas present so I didn't purchase it myself but it retails for about £65 in the UK. Which is a fair price I'd say.
I've had the bottle open for around 6 months. During which time I've struggled with it. I've felt it was good but just couldn't get to grips with it. The issue is I feel that this whisky is just wound up super tight. I've tried it without water and there's relatively little alcohol burn so it is drinkable neat. But all I would really get neat is a huge spice hit and a sense of very dense sweet, fruity flavours competing against each other. I've tried it with varying amounts of water (it is pretty much impossible to drown this dram) but never been quite able to hit a sweet spot.
Then without about 1/3 of the bottle left I had an idea. In Ralfy's Ben Nevis 10 review he talks about it being an 'angry malt' and puts it through an aerator to improve it. I brought the same aerator Ralfy used in that video but never think to use it. So I put my Glendroach CS through the aerator and bingo! It just seems to have calmed it down a tad. Don't get me wrong even having been through an aerator it's still a muscular beast of a whisky. It still needs serious time in the glass and plenty of water. But I've finally been able to unlock it's charms. And what charms it has!
Review is from a 50ml pour that has had 15ml of water added and breathed for 20 mins.
Cinnamon, spice, toffee, tobacco, a feint leathery smell
Oddly thin yet mouth coating! Fairly short arrival. Oranges, ginger cake, raisins (but not massively sherried) oak, Danish pastries and a feint hint of bonfire smoke.
Is long with a sour note and then drying.
I am reallt enjoying this now and with not that much left in the bottle I don't want it to run out. But it has taken a lot of time and perseverance to appreciate it's charms.
Will I buy another when it's gone? Perhaps not. But I'll defintely keep an eye out for Batch 9 and grab a bottle when that is released.
If you are offered a dram of this and don't have an aerator handy my advice would be to let it sit for an hour and don't be timid with the water.