Here are the two 1993 casks from Batch 16 of the GlenDronach single cask releases.
As you know GlenDronach is nowadays merely mentioning sherry butt on most of the labels, whereas this used to be specified as Oloroso or Pedro Ximénez. This can mean two things: either they don’t know (which would be surprising as they have mentioned it for other casks filled on the exact same date) or there was some re-racking involved (not uncommon at The GlenDronach). Or they simply don’t want to tell us, which would be sad.
We’ll start with cask #445 filled in February 1993.
GlenDronach 24 yo 1993 (52,4%, OB 2017, Batch 16, sherry butt #445, 649 btl.)
Nose: slightly dirty, meaty sherry with lots of caramel notes and slightly sulphurous hints (roasted chestnuts, mushrooms). Brown sugar and gingerbread. Just a light floral top note but missing a bit of fruitiness in the middle. Like some old-style blends from the 1960s.
Mouth: sweet and spicy, with the same beefy undertones. Plenty of chocolate, hints of tobacco and dates. Chestnuts. Hints of earth and pepper. Still this sulphurous theme, but the chocolate covers most of it.
Finish: long, on dark chocolate, caramel and a hint of pepper.
Not my style. Reminded me of the GlenDronach 1993 cask #529 but less pronounced. One for chocolate lovers that don’t mind a more bloated profile. Sold out, originally around € 300.
The other one is cask #55. That number triggers an alarm: the low numbers are all distilled 15th of January 1993 and most of these have been excellent, some legendary even. As far as I know, all of these were Oloroso casks.
GlenDronach 24 yo 1993 (56,7%, OB 2017, Batch 16, sherry butt #55, 567 btl.)
Nose: clearly better, much more elegant, with polished oak and more fruity notes, say baked apples, sweet rhubarb pastry and red berry jam. Raisins. Just a light hint of marzipan. Coffee beans in the background. Pepper and ginger too.
Mouth: a bigger fruitiness indeed (cherries, raspberry, stewed plums), and more of the furniture polish. Spicy oak (clove, ginger) as well as some herbal syrups. Less on the dark chocolate. Slightly drier and oakier perhaps, but simply much more refined than the other cask. Even better when it’s slightly reduced in alcohol.
Finish: long, slightly mentholated, with oak spices and traces of liquorice.
This is what made the 1993 vintage so good for me, although we have to admit that the oak ageing is starting to show. Same price, let’s hope you bought this one.