Friday, February 09, 2007

Malt Mission 2007 #30

Glendronach 15yo
Highland Single Malt Whisky
40% abv

This is a 'lost bottle' that has been discontinued, but it is well suited to be my 30th dram in this malt mission as it is one of the few whiskies that has come and gone during what I would call my whisky-interested-lifetime, AND it was one of the whiskies I shared with folks at the first whisky tasting I ever held in Toronto back in 2003.

Responsible for a lot of the creamy sherry flavour found in Teacher's blended whisky, Glendronach doesn't have the highest profile as a single malt, but does have several interesting features that make it a distillery of note.

At its peak, Glendronach was the highest duty-paying in the Highlands. They used coal-fired stills until 2005 and were the last distillery to do so. Abandoning the coal firing method was done, in large part, to comply with EU regulations on burning coal. So some distilleries went over to other ways of direct-firing, but Glendronach, at the time owned (some say mis-managed) by Allied, installed steam coils. NOT THAT THERE IS ANYTHING WRONG WITH THAT. Many people, Charlie Maclean to name just one, are convinced that the loss of this type of direct firing has permantely changed the character of Scottish whisky. Glendronach also used to malt their own barley(til 1996) and the floors are still intact. They get unpeated barley shipped in for the current whisky being produced at the distillery which is quite unlike what Glendronach used to use. This is quite a smoky whisky (see below) and along with Ardmore, was responsible for the smoky character found in Teachers (more info on Monday when I start the week with Teachers).

Since I caught the whisky bug, this distillery has come back into production and released a string of different bottlings making it hard to develop any sort of loyal following. Many people were very fond of this bottling and its loss is mourned across the world (and web).


Suprisingly soft impressions, but rich. Cherries and cherry sweets. Light, somehow. No way this is from first-fill sherry butts. Sweetness of sherry in the middle, though, dried apples, raisins, caramel and Port wine. Grilled cheese sandwich. Oak. Boiled brown rice. A sweet peat smoke impression too. Fruity bitterness like the white part of a strawberry.

Thick and impressions come short and quick... Maple sweetness. Turns quite smoky, like cigar smoke. This continues to an ashtray. Orange zest in vermouth. Burnt sugar, butter, homemade toffee. Cherry muffins. Still smoky and toasted oak lingers with a bit of raisiny sweetness.


Probably would do well as a cologne for men, sweet, citric, and fleshy but rugged, musky, and smoky. Overall not exactly my thing, but quite interesting in the fact that it is matured in 100% sherry casks and isnt killed with the typical flavours. Unique mix of characteristics. Unlike any other whisky I have had in the past 30 drams/days. Balanced in that the barley is able to stand up to the sherry and oak with its light peatiness and the sherry itself is dry and not overpowering. Drink it if you have it, but I wouldnt spend the current asking price if and when you find it.

Malt Mission #26
Malt Mission #27
Malt Mission #28
Malt Mission #29

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