...where distraction is the main attraction.

Friday, November 22, 2019

Glendronach Cask Strength, batch 3

Here's a thing. The ABV of each Glendronach cask strength batch:

Batches 1-5 were bottled by Billy Walker's Benriach Distillery Company. Batches 6-8 were bottled by Brown-Forman. What exactly is B-F doing differently? Younger whisky and/or fewer old casks in the mix? Different part of the warehouse? Different sized casks?

I'm not sure what's going on, but it's curious. Luckily, batch six and seven did continue this series's high quality. Now let's go back to the earlier stuff.

Batch two was pretty darn good, though it fell short of the first batch. Time for Batch #3.

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: 3
Bottled: 2014
Alcohol by Volume: 54.9%
(Many thanks to Eric S for this sample!)

The nose is big on sherry (for reals?), opening up bags of dried stone fruits. Citrus zests, anise, mint leaf, saline and carob follow. Maybe a little bit hot. The palate is actually more appealing than the nose. There are chocolates, toffees, wood spice, beef stock and tart cherries. It has a warming, almost smoky conclusion with moments of bitterness and tart fruit.

DILUTED TO ~46%abv, or < 1¼ tsp of water per 30mL whisky
The nose gets beefier, picks up Thai chiles and a simple curry powder. Some cardamom, grapefruit, anise and plenty of heat. Meanwhile, the palate gets a little strange. It's bitterer and saltier. Even a little bit soapy. There's more "classic sherry" raisin notes, milk chocolate and wood spice. The finish is savory, spicy, sharp and soapy.

As noted above, something weird happened to the palate once I added water. I tried it again three nights later and found similar results. No one else has reported the soapy notes, so perhaps this has something to do with the five years it took me to open up the sample. But just to be safe, I recommend leaving out the water because the whisky is quite good when neat. The palate is its richest element, registering a little beefier and savorier than other batches. To me, batch one still holds its position as the best of the group. To those who have tried multiple batches, what say ye?

Availability - Secondary market?
Pricing - ???
Rating - 85 (neat only)