Hielan = Highland.
GlenDronach The Hielan is 8 years old and relies on both bourbon casks and sherry casks (less than in other bottlings, hence the colour).
It’s a global trend to release younger expressions and to lower the influence of sherry maturation in the mix. Usually this also means dropping the age statement, but luckily not in this case. Any age statement is better than no age statement.
GlenDronach 8 yo ‘The Hielan’ (46%, OB 2015)
Nose: starts very buttery, with lots of toffee coated almonds and caramel notes. Reminds me of certain Glenrothes expressions, including the big maltiness and the slightly ‘bloated’ feeling. Picking up sweetness, with plenty of golden raisins and yellow plums. Buttercups.
Mouth: very malty, very sweet. Pepper and cereal / vanilla biscuits. The texture is nice, but I find this much too malty, even beer-like at some point. Porridge and gingerbread. Some almonds, hazelnuts and walnuts, with a gingery and slightly bitter aftertaste.
Finish: medium long, moving towards greener, grassier notes and oak spices.
I couldn’t help feeling disappointed. It’s very nutty and lacks some brightness – and it lacks some sherry, probably. It does have character, but I’m personally not too fond of these malty / toffee / porridge kind of drams. Around € 35-50, arriving in stores as we speak.