|The sherriest bunch of minis|
Just because they're bigger and have a larger presence in the whisky world, doesn't necessarily mean they're better. They do have the financial means to get the lion's share of good oloroso casks from Spain. They do have good stills and great staffers. This all results in a very good consistent product. In order to be consistent there's great cask management, but there's also chillfiltering and caramel color (and low ABVs).
And also, I like supporting small(er) businesses. Aside from my favorite baseball team, I always like to root for the little guy. Heck, my family is full of little guys. <--- That's a stature joke.
Anyway, all of these aspects combined have me on the search for other great sherried whiskies. That search has been a little passive of late with my peated spirit obsession. But I really would like to find a go-to sherry-cask-matured whisky that isn't Macallan. Especially since no one knows what's going to become of their upcoming non-age statement bottlings.
So I'd like to give GlenDronach a try. As I write this, I haven't started the Taste Off; in fact I've never even tried their whisky. But in every whisky corner, they've been getting raves. So let's take a look at their goodies this week. (And perhaps this Autumn, we'll snoop around other sherried whisky brands.)
In 1826, the Glendronach Distillery Company was founded in Aberdeenshire by a group of investors headed by James Allardice. A decade later, most of the distillery was destroyed in a fire. With the help of executives from Teaninich Distillery and Glenfiddich, the distillery was rebuilt and production restarted. Walter Scott of Teaninich owned the distillery until 1887, after which ownership bounced around a few times:
1887 - 1920 - A consortium from Leitth
1920 - 1960 - Charles Grant of the Glenfiddich Grants
1960 - 1976 - William Teacher & Sons (known for their blends)
1976 - 2005 - Allied Breweries (later Allied Domecq)
2005 - 2008 - Chivas Brothers (Pernod Ricard)
2008 - current - BenRiach Distillery Company
Walker and company capitalized the 'D' in the name and relaunched the entire range in 2009. With a healthier wood-management budget, the distillery's new bottlings were now unchillfiltered, caramel additive free, and with higher ABVs. GlenDronach has had massive success with their single cask releases (some of the most critically acclaimed whisky in the world), and also tinker around with special wood finishes every year or so.
GlenDronach's capacity is 1.4 million liters, though they're up to 1.1 million right now (1/8th the size of Macallan's production). Half of that booze goes to Pernod Ricard's blends.
But I'm interested in the stuff that's going into their single malts. So stay tuned for the 12 year "Original", 15 year "Revival", and 18 year "Allardice" this week!
Please the bottom half of my Whisky Notes page for sources.