Whisky Advocate

Guest Reviews: Focus on GlenDronach with Dominic Roskrow

November 18th, 2010

This is one of a series of single cask, cask strength offerings from GlenDronach, most of which have been matured in oloroso sherry casks and covering about 25 years of maturation. The variety is amazing. – Dominic Roskrow

GlenDronach, 1990 vintage, 20 year old, oloroso cask #2621, 57.9%, £80
If every fan of sherried whisky has a favorite GlenDronach then this is a long way down the road to being mine. It has a dusty dried orange peel, powdery, and perfumey nose, a soft and sweet round palate with a dark chocolate, tangerine, and pink grapefruit heart, and a balanced and gentle finish. This was probably once a hollerin’ maned lion of a malt, but it’s grown old gracefully and it now purrs and growls beautifully. (Dominic Roskrow)

Advanced Malt Advocate magazine rating: 90

GlenDronach, 1991 vintage, 18 year old, sherry puncheon cask #3182, 51.7%, £71
The variety between this series of single casks is quite extraordinary. This has a soft and light nose with some mint and liqueured fruit, and a big, rich, and impressive taste with anise and menthol, glacé cherries, and traces of mint. The finish is warming and full, with the mint and cherry theme carrying through to a slightly peppery conclusion. (Dominic Roskrow)

Advanced Malt Advocate magazine rating: 86

GlenDronach, 1971 vintage, 39 year old, oloroso cask #489, 48.8%, £380
This whisky is doddery and on the edge, bordering on feeble. You have to look hard to find its spark and fire, but if you search for it, it is there. The nose is light and savory, with crushed fall leaves and chestnut on the nose. On the palate, there are traces of licorice stick, a touch of cumin, anise, and a creamier, less bitter chocolate note than some other samples. It finishes with traces of mandarin, but overall the sun is setting and the spirited and energetic man of old seems to be getting bitter. Overall, though, still pretty impressive for its age. (Dominic Roskrow)

Advanced Malt Advocate magazine rating: 83

GlenDronach, 1989 vintage, 20 year old, pedro ximenez puncheon cask #3315, 53.2%, £80
This is the most seasonal of this batch of GlenDronachs, with a nose of rich stewed prunes and fermenting fruit in an orchard at harvest time. There is some anise and cherry lozenge in the mix, too, and the palate is complex, with plums, stewed fruits, and damson jam. The finish is drying, dusty, and spiky. (Dominic Roskrow)

Advanced Malt Advocate magazine rating: 83

GlenDronach, 1978 vintage, 31 year old, oloroso cask #1040, 51.2%, £185
No doubt about it, we’re at the furthest outpost of GlenDronach’s territory here, and this particular cask has waved the white flag. It has a dense, sappy, and nutty nose which is very savory and not particularly attractive. But thankfully there’s more to welcome you on the palate, with some rich orange and red fruit and sweet candy providing balance to the savory notes, and gentle oak and hazelnuts also getting a look in. The finish is woody and pruney. (Dominic Roskrow)

Advanced Malt Advocate magazine rating: 82

GlenDronach, 1993 vintage, 17 year old, oloroso sherry cask #529, 60.5%, £67
This isn’t the easiest to fall for. It’s stewed, swampy, a big, feisty, take-no-prisoners whisky with oxtail soup, spicy tomato and meat broth on the nose, then black treacle, praline, cayenne, and paprika. A rootsy prune juice is part of the finish. Challenging and tough. (Dominic Roskrow)

Advanced Malt Advocate magazine rating: 80

11 Responses to “Guest Reviews: Focus on GlenDronach with Dominic Roskrow”

  1. Mr Claw says:

    Well, of the current range, the 15 Revival is my fave.

    I got chance to give the 31 Grandeur a go at London’s Whisky Show. That was excellent.

  2. John Hansell says:

    I forgot to mention that these whiskies aren’t being imported to the U.S. These are:

    Glendronach 14 yr old Sauternes Finish
    Glendronach 14 yr old Virgin Oak
    Glendronach 1995 15 Yr Old Cask #2045
    Glendronach 31 yr old Grandeur

  3. Louis says:

    The 15 Revival is one of my favorites too. But I wouldn’t mind a few more years and higher ABV if the price wasn’t too exorbitant.



  4. MARS says:

    The 1972 from the serie is missing(the best). You are harsh with the 1971 so I assume that you will not give a good notation to the 1972 too (90 and 91pts for me).
    I like the 1989 a lot better than the 1991(who is a pedro ximenez and not an olorosso as writen), much more complex and a better balance.

    Most of them are still available in europe.

    Still, I have these bottles for 3 months now.
    And the new release(batch 3) is already available :
    – pedro ximenez 20 ans 1989/2010 53,3° cask 3833
    – pedro ximenez 20 ans 1990/2010 54,9° cask 3059
    – pedro ximenez 20 ans 1990/2010 52,6° cask 3068
    – olorosso 18 ans 1991/2010 51,9° cask 2512
    – olorosso 14 ans 1996/2010 58,3° cask 202

  5. Red_Arremer says:

    Great to have Dave and Dominic on board, but they’d do better to can the “colorful” imagery and allusions– These are fine reviews, but really– “hollerin’ maned lion”? This might be a good whisky, but that’s just stomach-turning.

    And Dave Broom on Neil Young… ? Next thing you know we’ll be having whisky explained to us in terms of baseball analogies.

    • Red_Arremer says:

      Neil young thing was actually a Dominic review too– Just happened to glance at it. Sincere, apologies to Dave Broom on that one. But man Dominic, let’s tighten it up a bit…

  6. DavidUK says:

    I have tried all the single casks available from 1989 onwards, imcluding the ‘distillery only’ bottling and the ‘fill your own’ bottling, and all are absolutely outstanding

    • MARS says:

      The “fill your own bottling” is still available? (as a glendronach collector I hope to get one bottle one day. No time to go to the distillery for the moment, sadly)

  7. MARS says:

    My bottles of 1989 and 1991 are open for more than 2 month now.
    It was a few weeks I didn’t try the 1991 and I must say that the evolution is really good. He is now much better than the 1989 whos doesn’t seems to evolve in the good direction(we will see in a few month).

  8. Just let me know where I can get my mitts on the 15-year-old Moscatel finish…

  9. anorak77 says:

    Dominic, in my opinion, you have grossly underrated all of these whiskies. I have not come across a single SC GlenDronach that I think deserves a rating of less than 85 or so. Have you tried the cask #2045 that is available in the U.S. market? I think it’s superb, and akin to the quality level of the gift-box original 2009 release of Springbank 18 year old.

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