After the disappointing (for me, at least) new edition of the ‘Hielan’ 8 year old that lacks enough sherry effect, I decided to try another new expression, the cask strength version of Glendronach, now in its fourth batch. I’ve reviewed batches 1,2 and they were cracking drams, I was hoping #4 would continue the tradition. Will it deliver?
Nose: Lovely and full of wood spice, but not a big badass sherry bomb as you might think. I am getting Cinnamon up front as well as ginger, stewed fruit, and some sultanas too. It’s quite spicy with a lot of pepper and maybe some chilies. Further nosing and after allowing it to breath in the glass, reveals quite a bit of red fruit and berries, and a flowery note as well. it’s sweet, but also fresh, and no hint of sulfur whatsoever. clean.
With water it becomes earthier and the wood notes are amplified.
Palate: Starts sweet, with golden syrup, cinnamon rolls, sultana and more of the red berries sweetness. There are also spicier notes of pepper, and ginger (that we’ve detected on the nose). With water, everything is sweeter, with a lot more fruit, and some more spice. With time i am getting more wood tannins, damp wood, and candy floss.
Finish: sticky rice pudding, cinnamon, ginger and sultana. quite long.
This is a delicious whisky indeed, it’s much better (as I hoped) than the entry level Hielan, and it does feature more sherry, although you might be disappointed if you’re looking for hardcore BIG Sherry notes. There are some dried fruit, but the profile is more sweet and spicy, but you don’t get meaty sherry, or a lot of prunes,plums etc., which some would expect from a Glendronach. I liked it quite a bit, but I think if I put it head to head with batch #2, it is more restrained, sherry wise. Nonetheless, this is an excellent dram to sip on cooler evenings, and I do think it benefits quite a bit from a few drops of water. Highly recommended.