This 1994 is the youngest whisky in GlenDronach’s fourth batch of single casks. Last year I was surprised by the GlenDronach 1993 cask #529 which was too dirty for my taste…
GlenDronach 17 yo 1994 (60,1%, OB 2011, oloroso butt #97, 617 btl.)
Nose: similar. Very mushroomy start, with lots of caramel. Some vegetal and meaty notes (oxo). Lots of roasted hazelnuts. Caramel again. Adding water doesn’t help this slightly sulphury profile, on the contrary. Not my type of whisky, although I want to repeat that these notes can be temporary and letting the bottle breathe for a couple of months can make them disappear. Some pear syrup in the background as well. Mouth: sweet at first, but quickly overtaken by spices and herbs (cloves, pepper, liquorice). Then a wave of wood and dark chocolate. Dry and nutty aftertaste. Water does help on the palate, making it rounder and slightly more fruity. Finish: quite dry and quite long with spices and wood.
I can’t really recommend this one, unless you’re familiar with this style and like your sherry a little dirty. Around € 100.
Let’s try another one of these Liquid Sun bottlings that arrived at the beginning of the summer.
Tomintoul 43 yo 1967 (49,8%, Liquid Sun 2011, bourbon hogshead, 209 btl.)
Nose: elegant nose with a complex mix of dried apricot, papaya and melon. Some tangerine, maybe lychee. Quite some almond / marzipan notes. Nice spicy notes as well. Mouth: good attack, slightly oily, followed by some soft oak and spices (pepper, nutmeg, cinnamon). Citrus flavours (orange, grapefruit, lemon) and yellow apple. Some leather. Very faint hints of bitterness and salt. Everything is coating in a nice sort of grain dust / flour veil as if it wanted to underscore its age. Finish: medium long, drying now with hints of fruit tea and banana skin.
We already knew Tomintoul from the 1960’s can be great (especially on the nose). Compared to cask #2559 bottled by A.D. Rattray, this one has a similar profile with more punch. Around € 190.
At the end of August, together with the six new GlenDronach single casks, BenRiach launched its 8th batch of single casks, twelve in total ranging from a 40yo 1971 to an 18yo 1993.
Eight of them were finished, two were peated. The oldest casks were classic Speyside style, like this BenRiach 1976 cask #6942. Always a highly anticipated vintage for this distillery.
BenRiach 34 yo 1976 (57,8%, OB 2011, butt #6942, 469 btl.)
This one has a more tawny colour than most 1976’s. I reckon it was a sherry cask? Nose: indeed not the classic 1976 (tropical) fruitiness. More polished oak to begin with. Cedar wood. Leather and some wax. Tobacco. Then the fruit comes out. A lot of juicy plums and raisins. Black cherries. Pastry with apricot marmalade. Whiffs of eucalyptus. A little pepper and cinnamon. Subtle roasted almonds and hazelnuts, maybe even traces of peat smoke? Very faint turpentine. It needs some time but it’s certainly high-class. Mouth: snappy, with roasted nuts again and dried fruits. Quite some spices (cinnamon and nutmeg), herbs and wood. Hints of orange marmalade and Christmas cake. Cherry brandy. Mango? Dark chocolate. Works well, juicy enough and none of the components gets too loud. Finish: drier now, balancing between dried fruits, grapefruit and spices.
This BenRiach 1976 requires a totally different point-of-view than the legendary tropical versions. Then again it’s a pretty great example of its sherry style. Around € 230 – already hard to find.
Among the summer releases from The Nectar, there are two new Daily Dram bottlings (Caperdonich 1994 and Glen Ord 1996). Earlier this summer there was a Bowmore 1994 and this Imperial 1995, both bottled by Signatory Vintage for The Nectar. While this Imperial is only available in Belgium, a similar release (cask 50306 + 50307) has been widely available since March.
Imperial 15 yo 1995 (46%,
Signatory Vintage for The Nectar 2011, hogshead #50309, 281 btl.)
Nose: bright start, young in a good way. Juicy fruits (white peach, apples and pears, melon). Quite some barley notes (maybe a tad too grainy but that’s fine). A few sparkles of mint and citrusy sourness. Mouth: slightly oily attack, quickly getting hotter (pepper) and spicier (soft cinnamon). Nice fruity notes (melon, pear, citrus again) as well as vanilla sweetness. Simple but nice and clean. Finish: medium long, half sweet, half spicy.
Nothing spectacular but perfectly enjoyable. A bright young Speysider at an excellent price. Around € 45.
In this little series of the fourth batch of single casks, here’s one of the younger casks, the GlenDronach 1992 cask #161.
GlenDronach 19 yo 1992 (59,2%, OB 2011, oloroso butt #161, 500 btl.)
Nose: a more pronounced version. It has some lovely polished oak and nutty aromas. A little heather honey. Natural caramel. Kirsch and raspberry liqueur. Hints of bread crust. Silky vanilla and almond paste too. There’s a subtle herbal / earthy side as well which makes it stand out. All of this on the expected background of dried fruits and sultanas. Very good, nicely balanced and more complex than the 1989 and 1990 (just like the sherry I would say – PX can be a little mono-dimensional). Mouth: spicy sherry (cinnamon, pepper) with a nice raspberry / cocoa combo. Sweet and sour. Orange cake. Again a range of herbal flavours. Heather honey. Vanilla and nuts. Pretty great. Finish: long, fading on chocolate and herbs.
A very entertaining cask, with all the expected elements but also a wealth of additional layers. Very attractive. If you’d ask me to recommend one of the more accessible bottles of this batch, this would be the one. Around € 115.
Our next GlenDronach single cask was filled in 1990. A Pedro Ximénez sherry pucheon just like the 1989 cask #2917.
GlenDronach 20 yo 1990 (50,1%, OB 2011,
PX sherry puncheon #1032, 728 btl.)
Nose: this one seems a bit duller and flatter than the 1989. It has more typical, sticky Pedro Ximénez elements with dried fruits and moscovado sugar. Dark polished wood. Some leather. Thick and jammy (blackberry or plum jam). Mouth: sweet cocoa flavours. Almonds and honey. Red fruit candy. Plums. Different types of jam again. Spices are quite delicate, and there’s not a lot of wood. Some sweet tobacco. Sweetness all over actually. Finish: still quite sweet and rounded, medium long.
This 1990 may be a more coherent package than the 1989, but you have to like a sweet and sticky malt. Rather faultless but slightly overdone for me. Around € 120.
The fourth batch of GlenDronach single casks has arrived in stores. The line-up is quite predictable, with a 1971 and 1972 cask, this GlenDronach 1989 cask #2917 and three 1990’s casks.
GlenDronach 21 yo 1989 (54,1%, OB 2011, PX sherry puncheon #2917, 618 btl.)
Nose: nice sherry, with the obvious dried fruits (mainly dates but also dried prunes and raisins) as well as some sparkling, fresher elements (clementine, strawberry, fresh figs). Something muscaty. Faint hints of rosewater lokum. Rich with a big base of aromas but lots of subtle layers as well. Mouth: quite heavy and sticky now. Dried fruits (dates, raisins). There’s also a more sourish side (balsamic) but this disappears after some time in the glass. A little pepper, followed by liquorice. Some tannins as well towards the end. Finish: medium length, with a more classic cocoa / roasted nuts combination. Still a sourish element.
I really like the nose of this GlenDronach 1989 but the palate seems a bit schizophrenic (heavy stickiness on one hand, slightly sour on the other). Not a bad start of this series but I prefer the 1989 cask #3315 which I tried last year. Around € 125.