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So much whisky, so little time | Singapore | Tasting Notes

Glendronach 18yo Allardice vs Glendronach 21yo Parliament

By now the news is long out, and apologies, if this was a news blog it’ll be a disaster. Billy Walker and partners have sold Benriach Distillery Company, and with it Glendronach and Glenglassaugh, to Brown-Forman (of Jack Daniel’s fame). So ends a remarkable tale of rescue and rebirth that began 12 years ago when the Benriach was first pulled out of closure and quickly found its way into the good graces of whisky enthusiasts. Not a one hit wonder as Glendronach and Glenglassaugh also benefitted from Billy’s midas touch. The Benriach Distillery Company seemed to be doing quite well, but you cannot blame a man for finally monetising 12 years of labour, anyway I don’t think he’s quite done yet. Ownership now passes to the very corporate Brown-Forman group. One hopes and prays they leave everything well alone.

Glendronach 18 ‘Allardice’ 46% *2015 batch

Glendro18

The 18 year old in the core range, and something of an ill fit considering it’s actual age must be closer to 20 years because of the closure of the distillery between 1996 and 2001, and it sits next to it’s 15yo sibling that is allegedly also 20 years old, and finally the 21yo that is really 21 years old. It’s called Allardice after the founder of the distillery James Allardice in 1826 – nevermind the distillery burned down 11 years later.

Nose Nose: Very sherry forward and very good. Thick oxidised oloroso sherry flavours – jammy dark dense fruit like a berry coulis. Also cocoa powder and cinnamon like some chocolate desert. Very much fitting the bill right now. But it’s nice to see the freshness of the spirit holding up to the heavy sherry, so while it’s a big sherry beast, there is a bright firm vitality to it that keeps everything fresh. Newly opened chocolate cardboard box. Leather, dry wood. Here’s the spirit still very much in the middle of the nose, cereal sweet and tremulous. Also presenting some piquant herbal tones if I am not mistaken.

Taste Palate: Actually rather bright on the tongue! Spirit first. Sour cooking herbs, aniseed? Steeped teas, something zesty-sweet. Sherry taking a backseat now, though one can feel the chocolate and oxidised fruity sweetness about. Some maltiness. Black pepper? The spirit really cuts the sherry here.

Finish Finish: Long, Dried fruit bit tannic, old wood and touches of old metal now.

Score90

Clear and present spirit undimmed by the power of the sherry flavours. Great balance and presentation. ‘Easier’ than the 21 and fresher.

 

Glendronach 21yo Parliament 48% *2015 batch

Glendro21

Named not for Holyrood where the Scottish Parliament sits, but rather for the Rooks that nest in the trees that overlook the distillery. Thank God it wasn’t crows in those trees then.. or this would have been called ‘Murder’. This one is a vatting of ex Oloroso and PX.

Nose Nose: Are there 2 really only 1 year apart? This 21 is a big step up in subtlety and complexity. Really reminds me of some old old first fill sherry butt matured whisky: Grist, cured meat, garage tools, and that Brasso polish, even a bit of Bovril. It’s all less immediate but much more in the base range rather than the brighter 18yo. Also less sweet but more savoury-rich. The thickest most reduced prune juice. Dark chocolate slabs. Downside is this really needs your time and attention. One of contemplation. Do not rush.

Taste Palate: Tad musty – old tea tins and chinese herbs. Some Bovril again. Old metal. Very thick and unctuous. Everything is as the nose nosed. A profile that is more comfortable with the 70s. However it is certainly not unapproachable! Lots of purple overripeness.

Finish Finish: Long, tad weaker than the 18 despite the abv. Some wood. Licorice or some bark.

Score92

Are there old butts in here? Honestly a surprise. But also very subtle and needs patience and the right moment.

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This entry was posted on May 22, 2016 by in Glendronach and tagged .
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