Whisky Review: The GlenDronach Single Cask 1996 Aged 18 Years #1487

Style: Dark Fruits and Nutty Malt

Nose:

Dark plums and prunes waking up from slumber, while perfumed malt latches on a dominant and dry peppermint spice. Cranberries dragged downwards by weighty dark chocolate, toffee and espresso sediments. Coal ambers, maybe a faint layer of peat as well? A rich and surprisingly dry aroma, and the sweetness oscillates in and out nicely. Interesting.

Palate:

Dark fruits injected with amber coal heat. Cranberries, black currants and red cherries safely anchored onto a heavy layer of earthy liquorice and rich dark chocolate sauce. Nutmeg, tobacco leaves and almonds scattered around coffee beans, still getting a residue of peat here. Quite a round and deep expression. Amaretto-infused malt occasionally go off the script, oatmeal reduced into powder form at the back end.

Finish:

Strawberry jam lightly spread on a freshly baked Kurtosh. Chocolate and delicious sherry fruits gather and push for a nice finish.

Thoughts:

Cherry sweet GlenDronach lined up in a rather deep, round and rich formation. A pretty-dark fruit core anchored tightly onto an even heavier layer of dark chocolate and coffee, which is cleverly counterbalanced by strong coal fire heat, peppermint spice and other drier facets of the spirit. Although personally I feel the nutty malt feels slightly isolated at times, nonetheless this PX runs a delicate yet sonorous line, quite an interesting dram.

☆ [Recommended]

[54.1% Original Bottling / 1996 Distilled / 2014 Bottled / Aged 18 Years / Single Cask / Cask Number #1487 / 545 of 677 Bottles / *]

Esmond

Dram Review: The GlenDronach Single Cask Aged 21 Years (Cask No. 475)

[56.4%・21 Years Old・Distilled in 1993・Bottled in 2014・Official Bottling Specially Selected for The Nectar and La Maison du Whisky・Cask No. 475・Single Cask Release of 627 Bottles]

Nose:

Prunes and blackcurrants, coal smoke, tobacco and tar with dark chocolate running along, drawing out some earthy and woody notes as a wee nutty note also enters the background.

Palate & Finish:

Dried blueberries and sticky toffee, sweet oily mouthfeel followed by the oak led leather, together with sprinkles of ginger and nutmeg.  The mid-palate coveys some almond chewiness that grows a tad bitter.

Long, lasting, chocolate, coffee beans, fares oaky.

Thoughts:

For me, this is a familiar GDSC that would make one smile, I find the darker and earthier profile quite attractive but I suppose this may come across as a bit rough for some..

☆ [Recommended]

P.S. Cheers Clifford for the wee dram, it’s much appreciated.

-Nicholas

Whisky Review: The GlenDronach Single Cask 2005 Aged 12 Years #1451

Style: Fruity and Vibrant

Nose:

Christmas cake and figs lying neatly alongside with malt biscuits. Banana gummies, black currants ride on an elevation of floral notes. Peppermint and black pepper forming a nice edge. The Pedro Ximenez influence is not strong, it is not a full-on sherry bomb like most GDs, and we get to see a pleasant display of the distillate. Surprisingly nice.

Palate:

Vibrant, fruity notes with black currant candies falling onto the palate. Here comes the sherry wave – walnut, figs and Christmas cake. The spices is being a bit naughty here and went overboard with the heat. Peppermint staying sharp, and we have malty notes waiting on the other side. Polished oak and armchair notes to finish.

Finish:

Red currants lollies staying on, just a touch of vanilla and more fruit gummies waiting at the end.

Thoughts:

A rather vibrant dram. Not your usual PX sherry bomb, especially when the spirit has more chance to speak in this dram. A tad too young and spicy, but I don’t mind a curve ball GD every now and then.

✓ [Recommended if you like the style/ distillery]

[56.1% • Original Bottling • 2005 Distilled • 2017 Bottled • Single Cask •Batch 16 • Aged 12 Years • Cask #1451 •Cask Strength • Non Coloured • Non Chill Filtered • 322 of 698 Bottles • Matured in Pedro Ximenez Puncheon • t]

-Esmond

Dram Review: The GlenDronach Single Cask Aged 21 Years (Cask No. 5405)

[49.9%・21 Years Old・Distilled in 1991・Bottled in 2013・Official Bottling・Single Cask Release of 702 Bottles]

Nose:

There is a dusty feeling, earthy with a condense reduction of simmering strawberries and prunes conveying that stickiness.  A certain smoky note amidst things with a brush of mint accompanying the syrupy aromas.

Palate & Finish:

Strawberry cubes but quite peppery and spicy, this dram extracts quite a lot of sweetness from the PX cask, chocolate and oak with some leather arriving late.

The sweetness stretches on.

Thoughts:

On paper this should be something I would rather enjoy: 49.9%, 21 years and Pedro Ximénez cask matured but alas this single cask didn’t quite pend out as well overall as I’d hoped..

✓ [Recommended if you like the style/ distillery]

P.S. Cheers Clifford for the wee dram, it’s much appreciated.

-Nicholas

Whisky Review: The GlenDronach Single Cask Batch 16 1993 Aged 24 Years #55

Style: Sherry Sweet and Spicy

Nose:
A relatively tight nose to begin with, but when it cuts through the spice we have beautiful assorted red fruits, red currants, a touch of resin and grassy notes. Flicking to the drier side from time to time, dusty and earthy notes laid on top of a deeper layer of stewed fruitiness.

Palate:
Round red fruits rolling on the palate. Black currants with all sorts of sherry goodness. Yum! Chocolate, blood oranges, a sturdy, spicy backbone with searing ginger and dry spices scattering around. Almonds and tobacco leaves growing at back palate. Finish with a touch toasted oak.

Finish:
Sherry fruits back paddling, malt with soft grassiness. Quite nice.

Thoughts:
I was told that this is matured in an Oloroso butt, but I wonder why it doesn’t say on the label anymore? Elegant sherry elements tied around a spicy backbone, maybe 93 Glendronach is really something after all. Although the tug of war between sherry and spice might indicate a lack of integration in some aspects, nonetheless a pretty decent sherry GD, especially after you let it breathe for a fair bit of time.

[Recommended]

[56.7% / Original Bottling / 2017 Bottled / 1993 Distilled / Single Cask / 327 of 567 Bottles / Cask #55 / Matured in Sherry Butt / *-]

-Esmond

Whisky Review: Bellwether Single Malt Whisky R6

Style: Citrus Sweet and Herbal

Nose:

Musky, stewed tropical fruits stepped up to the front. Melon candies, then it edges towards to the vegetal side – Cucumber gradually transfigured into Chinese medicinal herbs. Distant smoke, Sharp ginger shreds sheathed by a touch of sweet orange citrus at the back.

Palate:
A string of flavours slowly unwinding from a tight knot on the palate. Once it decompresses, we have orange drops sitting on top of another stack of medicinal herbs, while ginger twists and turns around the herbal core. Citrus sweetness getting more comfortable overtime, smoke flickering gently, bitter herbal notes growing aggressive and gain some ground towards the end.

Finish:
Herbs continue to entangle the bright citrus notes. Lozenge with ginger giving a light tingling texture.

Thoughts:
A relatively herbal Aussie. The medicinal profile is balanced by the sweet orange citrus notes, which creates a decent structure to this spirit. Well-controlled spice, sufficient nuances, although I fell the herbal bitterness went a little bit overbroad towards the back. Promising signs.

[47% • Original Bottling • 2018 Bottled • 80 of 95 Bottles • Limited Release • Medium Peated ~ 20ppm • French Oak Port wood – Bourbon]

-Esmond

Whisky Review: Bellwether French Oak CS (Bottled for Whisky Freedom)

Style: Sweet and Very Spicy

Nose:
Good dab of soy sauce, followed by a surge of spirit spice. Christmas cake, walnut and dried blood orange forming all the necessary sweetness at the core. The heat takes a herbal, dry grassy turn and we have some minty eucalyptus free flowing up high. Peeling off a layer of barbeque smoke, thin crust of boiled red candy wrapped around the outskirt.

Palate:
Wow, what a massive palate. Intense heat and intense flavours at ground zero. Red confectionaries reduced into dark syrup. Sultanas, cough syrup, dried flower petals and cotton candy shatters into thousands of sharp pieces. A layer of spirit-y notes building up and form some herbal bitterness, which unfortunately, placed under the spotlight as the sweetness wanes towards the back. Red liquorice, oak and walnuts notes to finish.

Finish:
Ripples of bitterness eventually come to an end, and the port-influenced sweetness claws back and we have cherry liquorice and malt slowing decompressing at the end.

Thoughts:
While I do enjoy more-ish drams with stronger impact of flavours. However, I also think that when the abv (in this case, it is 67.8%) passes a certain level, the spirit becomes too hot and starts to lock up some of the flavours. Especially when it is relatively young and matured in (I suspect) smaller casks. In this case, personally, I think the expression is overly compressed and will benefit from by a substantial dilution.

[67.8% • Original Bottling • 2018 Bottled • Cask Strength • No Age Statement • 53 of 59 Bottles]

-Esmond

Dram Review: Hellyers Road Peated

[46.2%・NAS・Bottled Circa 2014-2018・Official Bottling・General Release]

Nose:

Iodine, and a singular sooty peat smoke. Squid ink and burnt plastic. Hints of zingy green kiwis and rice paper still lurk in the background.

Palate & Finish:

Light vanilla sweetness with a bit of kiwi citrus and fresh garden herbs followed by a solid pasting of peat providing steady follow through alongside smoke and golden honey.

The somewhat dirty smoke continue to hang in the finish, a tad on the woody side with a hint of whisky tablet sweetness.

Thoughts:

Certainly nothing to frown upon as a peated youngling.. quite close to scoring a tick..

-Nicholas

Dram Review: Hellyers Road Pinot Noir Finish

[46.2%・NAS・Bottled Circa 2014-2018・Official Bottling・General Release]

Nose:

A dose of that wrapping rice paper for Chinese milk lolly, zingy with some kiwis along with a powdery delivery of blackberries and artificial cherries.

Palate & Finish:

Starts off light and a tad dry, cherries and some tangy citrus but also some wee metallic notes, thin layer of hay and barley with some fresh wheatgrass.

Traces of vaguely sugary content from some dried fruits in the finish along with a hint of charred toast.

Thoughts:

Somewhat of a left field whisky even by Australian standard, perhaps it’s the distillation..

-Nicholas

Dram Review: Hellyers Road Port Cask Matured Single Cask Release Aged 11 Years (Cask No. 4295/03)

[62.2%・11 Years Old・Bottled in 2018・Official Bottling・Cask No. 4295/03・Single Cask Release]

Nose:

A fat Port cask driven note from the get go.  Still quite spirit heavy with a buttery toffee base with a slight clay note.  Overall, the Port wood fragrance is quite pleasant.

Palate & Finish:

Sweet prunes on the palate but incredibly spicy, the Port influence can’t prevent the spirit hotness from causing a scene, followed later on by blueberry syrup, milk chocolate and hint of menthol.

The burn gradually subsides in the finish to release more blueberry syrup and malt.

Thoughts:

Hot and spicy without restraint, not one for the faint-hearted I am afraid..

-Nicholas