GlenDronach 2004 11 Years Old Hand-filled
GlenDronach had an excellent reputation before Billy Walker took over, who raised the profile of the distillery even more. Now, with Brown-Forman as owners, it remains to be seen how they’ll handle the brand and if they’re willing to invest in quality spirit and wood.
For now, I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt, although I don’t know how to feel about the different wood-finished, no age statement whiskies that have been put out under the new owners. Or actually, that’s a lie. I do know how I feel. I’m not a fan.
On to the matter at hand. When you visit the distillery, they still let you hand-fill a bottle, which is great. I don’t understand why more distilleries don’t do this. If I have the option, I almost always bottle my own whisky after a distillery visit. Although not the last time I visited GlenDronach, as I didn’t feel shilling out 250 pounds for a vintage 1993 single cask. I know, legendary vintage, but still a lot of money.
However, often you can bottle a younger GlenDronach, at around 10 or 11 years old, like the whisky I’m reviewing today, which was bottled a few years ago. Drawn from a sherry puncheon, this is most likely from an ex-Pedro Ximenez cask.
GlenDronach 2004 11 Years Old (59,2%, OB ‘Hand-filled’, C#5525)
Nose: Intensely concentrated sherry aromas (dried red fruits galore) and extremely sweet. Lots of vanilla and cotton candy, as well as mocha and espresso notes. There’s a whiff of cinnamon, as well as a muted earthiness.
Taste: Dark and rich, with chocolate, plums and rum-soaked raisins, as well as a decent spiciness. Think cracked black peppercorns and cloves. Somewhat dry, with a touch of oak.
Finish: Spicy, with subtle chocolate. Long.
If you’re looking for a sherry bomb, this is it. Not that you’ll find it anywhere but on an auction site. Maybe a bit one-dimensional, but certainly tasty and intense.
Thijs is a spirits writer and accredited liquorist from The Netherlands. He runs the blog Words of Whisky and contributes to a number of Dutch and international publications.