[54.5%・19 Years Old・Distilled in 1995・Original Bottling・Single Cask Release of 701 Bottles]
I first got into GlenDronach single casks at the time when Batch 10 & 11 were still available. Granted I was a bit late to the party, but at least they were still regarded as some of the best buys at that time. The Batch 12 landed in Australia just after it was announced that Brown-Forman has acquired the BenRiach Distillery Company, of which GlenDronach is a subsidiary. As one would imagine, the shops in Sydney got minimal allocations and they flew right off the shelves.
On the nose, there is a sharp acidic raisin note, gunpowder and new leather, slightly metallic with a burnt muscovado sugar note beneath. Syrup drenched fruits followed by a fair bit of oak influence. Give it some time and there exists a black truffle note.
Syrupy brown sugar on the palate with cured mangos and muscat grapes. Such brightness is overtaken by drying dark oak tannins rather swiftly, with a black tea bitterness that gives way to nutmeg powder, chocolate dust and a rather leathery note. Toasted granola and an underlying toffee cream note surface to provide a chewy mouthfeel, with notes of tobacco and coffee ground to finish off.
For me personally, this feels a tad unbalanced, and it’s not as consistently rewarding as releases from previous batches, a sign that GlenDronach perhaps peaked a while back. Will Brown-Forman finish what grandfather Billy started? I don’t know, I do hope they are able to show me again the power of the darkness…