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Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Glendronach Cask Strength, batch 2

I've tried six of the eight Glendronach Cask Strength batches and have found the series to be very solid. Reviews of batches one, six and seven can already be found on this blog, so it's time for a pair of the in-between releases. The first batch was the best by far, so far. Can batches two and three compete?

Distillery: Glendronach
Ownership at time of bottling: BenRiach Distillery Company Ltd
Current Ownership: Brown-Forman (ugh)
Region: Eastern Highlands (on the edge of Speyside)
Age: ???
Maturation: a mix of Oloroso and Pedro Ximenez sherry casks
Batch: 2
Bottled: 2013
Alcohol by Volume: 55.2%
(part of a bottle split)

The bold and complex nose is also a bit scattered. There are dried currants, golden raisins, honey, almond butter and apricots (fresh and dried). Cinnamon candy, limoncello and cardamom sit in the background. Notes of new tires, toffee and smoked vanilla beans arise after the whisky sits for 30+ minutes. The palate has a chocolate and malt base with a number of smaller notes floating about: mango, serrano pepper, wood smoke, tart citrus and something industrial. It's sweet but not too sweet, especially as the tart citrus expands. The medium-length finish holds chocolate, tart citrus, serrano pepper and metal workshop.

DILUTED TO ~46%abv, or 1¼ tsp of water per 30mL whisky
The nose is all milk chocolate, limes, clementines, dried oregano and a stony earthiness. Lots of bitter chocolate and cocoa in the palate, as well as lime juice, dates, tar and Underberg. The finish matches the palate.

This proves to be two different, though related, whiskies at 55.2% and 46%abv. It's a wild thing at full strength, loaded with character(s) but, for me, it hits all the right spots once it's diluted. Water doesn't open it up, rather it brings focus to the whisky, highlighting its strengths and making it more approachable without dumbing it down. While it doesn't hit the first batch's heights, it's still a very good whisky.

Availability - Secondary market?
Pricing - ???
Rating - 87 (with water)

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