Master distiller Billy Walker has selected five Pedro Ximénez Sherry Octaves from the distillery’s warehouses to be bottled as the GlenDronach 20 Years Old Octaves. The spirit was distilled in September 1994, matured in regular sherry casks and then put into PX octaves for a couple of months.
Octave casks are 1/8th of a butt. They’re small so they tend to have a quick, intense effect on the liquid inside. When seasoned with sherry, they can also rapidly add sherried notes to a whisky.
Let’s not beat around the bush though, they’re often used to rescue / mask under par casks as well.
GlenDronach 20 yo 1994 ‘Octaves’ (48%, OB 2015, 371 btl.)
Nose: aromatic, with raspberry ganache and fig liqueur, hints of eucalyptus and redcurrant jam. Some Portuguese Ginjinha as well. Takes us back to some of the best 1972s, nice! Hints of candied ginger and rose pepper. Herbal potions, as well as treated exotic woods.
Mouth: raisins, figs and cherries, though this time with a sourness of Morello cherries and oak juice. Ginger, green tea, sappy wood. Mint and leather. Tobacco juice and chestnuts.
Finish: long, with hints of grapefruit, herbal tea, tobacco and a little mint.
Great start, replicating the legendary 1972 bottlings to a certain extent. On the palate you sense the pressure cooked, oaky style of an Octave cask, not so much in tannic notes but in a sour, herbal oakiness. Interesting. Around € 475.