Last year’s GlenDronach Grandeur release, Batch 11, was the oldest in its history at 28 years of age. Well, the distillery just upped itself for the second year running with Batch 12, a 29 year old whisky that is matured entirely in oloroso sherry casks.
With the intense coffee-brown color and richness of flavor, I would have sworn this was at least partially aged in Pedro Ximenez casks, if not entirely. Either way, it’s got a classic sherry nose all the same, intensely nutty with overtones of coffee, rich and leathery with its enduring toasty, woody, vaguely floral qualities.
On the palate, the whisky is surprisingly gentle and mild, all of the above notes well-represented — and beautifully integrated. There’s more baking spice here than expected, with ginger and cinnamon particularly prominent. Then comes the darker fruit notes — dates, figs, raisins, plums, and even some baked apple. Sweet (but not too sweet) and enduring, these mingle with the spices to create a delightful holiday feel to the experience. The abv of 49.2 feels just about perfect, tempering any sense of heat and leaving room for smoldering but elegant notes of dark chocolate, Nutella, and coffee on the finish.
A truly fine whisky — but one that, by simply looking at it in the glass, tastes exactly how you expect it to. That’s not a bad thing.
A / $830 (700ml)