After the success of the GlenDronach 1993 cask #33, a shop bottling for Abbey Whisky, they were looking for a successor. This was found in a cask from the next vintage: GlenDronach 1994 cask #3400 which was a large PX puncheon.
GlenDronach 20 yo 1994 (54,8%, OB for Abbey Whisky 2014, Pedro Ximénez puncheon #3400, 672 btl.)
Nose: slightly winey but very forthcoming. Baked apples, fig syrup, rum & raisins (tons of raisins really). Hints of vanilla – American oak sherry cask. Sticky toffee pudding. Hints of strawberries with milk chocolate. Soft oriental spices underneath: cinnamon and cardamom, as well as a fragrant touch that holds the middle between potpourri and metal polish. Very similar to cask #3397 that was part of the official releases, but without the dirty edge.
Mouth: big, with plenty of spices now (well, pepper mainly). Also dates, demerara sugar and plum compote. Evolves on the darker side of things, with dark chocolate, hints of coffee and roasted nuts. Leather. A little plain oak with a bitterish edge.
Finish: very long, very dry, with herbal notes, cloves and maple syrup.
A really good GlenDronach, better than its sister cask which was released by GlenDronach itself. Around € 130 from Abbey Whisky.
If you ever have a chance to try a Spanish Brandy de Jerez, please do so and think of this bottling. Brandy de Jerez is a cognac-style spirit, made from distilled grape juice that is matured in casks that previously held sherry wines, often Pedro Ximénez sherry. Contrary to actual sherry wines, which are matured in inactive old casks (sometimes in use for 100 years or more), their brandies are matured in fairly new casks that are specially prepared for the maturation of brandy. The aim is to impose sherry flavours as quickly as possible.
When trying this Glendronach, it immediately reminded of some brandies matured in PX casks. The kind of sherry influence is strikingly similar, the whisky is almost a higher strength version of the brandy. In fact these brandies are made in the same bodegas that also provide casks for the whisky industry so it shouldn’t come as a surprise. What we now call a “sherry cask” is simply the type of cask they had been preparing for brandy for ages.