...where distraction is the main attraction.

Friday, May 31, 2024

The new place, and two 1993 Glendronachs

I exist in the new place. "Exist", not "am settled". How does one make one's house one's own? Everything here smells of the three dirty Frenchies (the dogs) that had previously run the place, but less so than it did last week. The whisky room is almost done in the basement, though I haven't yet decided how to decorate it, aside from bottles. I watched The Ninth Configuration and First Spaceship on Venus one night, far past my bedtime. And on Sunday night, I made scallops with cuttlefish ink pasta and sautéed spinach, and nailed it so much better than I should have that I must have borrowed the soul of Olivia Tiedemann for 30 minutes. Meanwhile I keep splitting logs awkwardly in the backyard until I can't see through the sweat in my eyes. Now I just need to assemble this IKEA couch, whose boxes watch me from across the room. I'm almost home.

Now it's time to try to get the whisky posts back on schedule. I will try my best, but no promises, life is crazy.

It's been 4.5 years since I last reviewed a Glendronach, so I've decided that now's a good time to open up these samples of two 1993 'Dronachs that were both distilled on March 19th of that year.

Glendronach 25 year old 1993, sherry butt #658 for The Whisky Barrel, 59.3%abv


There are dusty books and old leather on the nose. Then carob, and a fruit cake loaded with figs and dried cherries. It offers a sense memory of what Macallan used to smell like 15 years ago. The palate is VERY hot. Dunnage, newspaper ink, sea salt, and a whiff of smoke wait beneath the heat. It gets sweeter, while picking up some oranges after 45 minutes. It finishes inky, salty, and sweet, with lingering notes of almond extract and dusty old oak.

DILUTED to ~46%abv, or 1¾ tsp of water per 30mL whisky

The nose has become fruitier, nuttier, more herbal, with plenty of kiwi, lychee, walnuts, and Brazil nuts. Dark chocolate, dark berries, and fresh tobacco fill the palate. It has a nice bitterness too, a little bit of ink, and grapefruit juice. Bitter citrus, dunnage, and dried cherries finish it off.


Though Glendronach is/was practicing undisclosed re-racking, as per My Annoying Opinions excellent post from 10(!!) years ago, I don't think they did that with #658. The whisky reads as old or older than its age statement. No new oak, nor incongruous extra-wet cask notes here. The nose is excellent neat or diluted, though the palate works better for me when the ABV is reduced. Though this isn't my preferred single malt style, I can't deny that this cask was a gem.

Availability - Secondary market?
Pricing - ????
Rating - 90

Very dark stuff

Glendronach 24 year old 1993, sherry butt #652 for Abbey Whisky, 60.6%abv


The nose begins with dunnage and very old wood, pulled pork and medjool dates. That's followed by dark chocolate, cherry juice, oak spice, and sage smoke. The palate is actually less hot than 658's. It's dusty, savory, and slightly tart. Smoky soy sauce and yesterday's cigar. Little bits of newspaper ink and berry sweetness. It finishes sweeter and tangier, while holding onto the dusty and savory notes. Plenty of old wood stays on the tongue.

DILUTED to ~46%abv, or 2 tsp of water per 30mL whisky

Orange peel, fruity cinnamon, and milkier chocolate arrive in the nose first, followed by almond extract, cherry juice, and watermelon candy. The palate gets leaner, with raw almonds and walnuts. Tart lemons at first then lemon candy later. The oak takes over in the finish, all bitter and dusty with a hint of sweetness.


This one also feels as old or older than the label says, which doesn't happen much anymore. The smoky notes are fascinating and work very well, it's too bad the dilution washes them away. Harsh oak notes knock this one down a little, threatening to throw it all out of balance, and I found myself going back to cask 658 more frequently. But it's a Big whisky no matter what.

Availability - Secondary market?
Pricing - ????
Rating - 88