Taste Review 12 – Glendronach 12
Glendronach is one of those whiskies I enjoy, but despite it being very easy for me to visit their distillery, I never had. So finally at the start of June 2019 I did. And as this blog is dedicated to finding value for money – I am a tight Aberdonian after all, you’ll get a visit report and a taste test as well.
I’m a big fan of the 18 year old Allardice bottling, but have never really tried the rest of the range. There is the 8 year old Heilan, 12 year old, 15 year old Revival, 18 Year old Allardice and the 21 year old Parliament. There are also a cask strength edition, and a peated expression. This review centres on the 12 year old, but we will return to some of the others at a later date.
The Glendronach Distillery has been in existence since 1826, founded by James Allardice, in Glendronach, about 1 mile south east of the village of Forgue, itself about 8 miles north east of the Aberdeenshire town of Huntly.
The tour does not allow you to take photos in the production area, so I’m not going to do a full tour review. Glendronach gets its water from Balnoon Spring, whilst the cooling water is taken from the Dronach Burn that flows through the distillery grounds. During its silent period of 1996-2001, flooding severely damaged the floor malting buildings, and these were demolished, meaning Glendronach now buys in its malted barley. The barley strain used is Concerto, and is unpeated, unless they are producing their peated expression.
The kiln still survives and this is shown during the tour.
There is only one milling machine, the one on site dating back to 1913. 4 tons of malted barley are milled for each batch. This gives the load for the mash tun of 3.75 tons.
After mashing, the wort is cooled to 18C it’s then fed to one of 9 washbacks, where fermentation takes place for between 60-80 hours. The resulting wash is 8.5% alcohol, and feeds to the wash still. The wash stills have unusual shaped Lyne arms, which are in a saxophone sort of shape. The guide wasn’t sure why, but as the distillery doesn’t work at weekends, there was no operative to ask. From what I know about distilling, it is likely to cut back on reflux, which will adds body to the spirit.
The New Make spirit is around 68% alcohol.
The tastings offered on the basic tour are the 8 year old and 12 year old, and it is the 12 year old I will review. As I was driving, I got to take my samples home.
43 % a.b.v
Toffee, rich spicy fruit, cooking apples, honey
A dried fruit, almost a light Christmas cake experience, but not overly sherried. Vanilla.
Oak, raisins, leaves, medium length.
Not my favourite Glendronach, but still very good for its price point. A bit too subtle on the sherry influence for me, but still good value and a decent start to sherried whisky.
I did actually end up buying a managers dram at the distillery, as it was distilled on my birthday. This was 26 years old, but seeing as next week it turns 27, and I turn a bit older than that on the same day, I might be buying another.
I already own a 26 year old Glendronach, signed by a rather famous person in the US who likes running his press office via Twitter.
Glendronach 12 is available world wide, and costs about £42 a 70cl bottle.
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