The 1970s were glory days for GlenDronach. In particular, the early to mid seventies. Some great new make spirit hit some great sherry butts and the end result…happy consumers.
There was a rather incredible run of casks from 1972 numbered in the low 700s (this one we’re speaking to now is #718) that were…simply put…awesome. One was a Malt Maniacs award winner…another I believe earned some Whisky Mag accolades…a third was selected for a store here in Calgary, and was an absolute stunner. I’d love to try more from this run but odds get slimmer each year of that happening.
Sadly, though, they can’t all be immaculate. The spirit that was filled into these sherry butts would have likely been from the same distillation run, but being bottled as single cask releases means that the distiller is at the mercy of the wood. And sometimes…that wood is not completely free of blemish.
Cask #718 is just such a one. I’m not sure if it is over-cooked (too long in the cask) or simply had a bit of a dud home for its 38 years in the warehouse. Either way, what we end up with is a good whisky that should have been great. When you’re spending these kinda dollars (or pounds…or euro…or what have you) and buying a 38 year old whisky…’good’ sometimes isn’t good enough.
Make no mistake, however, I did enjoy this one. A couple of off-kilter notes throw it far enough off course to not live up to its siblings, but still delight in its own ways. The expected tropicalia is still present, but honestly…this one is right on the edge. Maybe just toppling over. Good thing it was pulled and bottled when it was.
Nose: Caramel. Black current. Some rather surpising meaty notes. Putty. Almost an egg-ish note. Kinda sharp and bitter. Still some tropical fruit notes, mango in particular. Quite some grapefruit. There is a definite ‘off’ note in here though, that throws everything out of wack.
Palate: That ‘off’ note carries through to the palate as well. Kinda like a black current cough drop meets egg. (WTF?!) Plum and some bold-stroke grapefruit. Bitter chocolate and coffee. Quite tart.
Something odd with this one. Fortunately, it is anomalous. The others I’ve tasted in this run of casks (low #700s) have been brilliant.
– Reviewed by: Curt
– Photo: Curt