Whisky Review: GlenDronach 25 Year Old 1990 Kingsman Edition

Brown Forman’s GlenDronach is not the only distillery to commemorate the new film called Kingsman: The Golden Circle (2017 release), which is the sequel to Kingsman: The Secret Service (2014 release). In late spring of this year, Old Forester distillery, another Brown Forman whiskey making property, released “Statesman” as a teaser for the new Kingsman film, in which a secret American spy agency of that name joins forces with Kingsman from England.

I’ve not tasted Old Forester’s Statesman bourbon; however, I have a sample of 25 Year Old Glendronach Kingsman on my desk that I’m dying to crack open, almost as much as I’m looking forward to seeing the new Kingsman film.

Hold on a second. I’m getting a transmission through my special issue swizzle stick/communicator: “Whiskey, tango, foxtrot? Copy that. Kirk out.”

Agent Ginger Ale told me not to lie. Here is the truthful correction to my last statement: I am looking forward to tasting a small batch of 1991 GlenDronach EVEN MORE than going to see a movie about secret agents saving the world. Part of my enthusiasm has to do with the fact that this limited edition quarter century batch was drawn from ex-sherry casks, and then corked at a very respectable 48.2% ABV.

Matthew Vaughn, director of Kingsman, personally selected GlenDronach as the distillery to represent this new sequel. He chose 1991 to mark the birth year of Eggsy, the main star of Kingsman. Vaughn has been quoted as saying, “[i]t’s really special to get a limited edition like this, and even more so as The GlenDronach is my favorite single malt whisky. I hope Kingsman fans around the world enjoy it as much as I do.”

Again, I hate to spike the proverbial punch bowl with truth serum, but it should be said that one needn’t be a fan of “Eggsy” in order to appreciate an exquisite single malt Scotch whisky like this one. Now, let’s reach for a bottle of Kingsman with one hand, as we surf for a pair of movie tickets online with the other hand, and see what happens.

GlenDronach 25 Year Old 1990 Kingsman Edition

image via Glendronach

Tasting Notes: GlenDronach 25 Year Old 1990 Kingsman Edition

Vital Stats: 70cl; single malt Scotch; 48.2% ABV / 96.4 proof; suggested retail price $700. This price has already nudged up higher in the marketplace. Expect to see bottles sell at auction, in the not-so-distant future, for over a thousand dollars.

Appearance: Amber with golden highlights, these legs have magnificent form. They are long and thin, with ample beads that roll gingerly down the sides of my tulip glass. In fact, the metaphor of “legs” tends to break down when confronted by whisky this good. Instead, I’m picturing the image of a king’s crown adorned with yellow diamonds.

Nose: Tiramisu; caramel nougat; peanut; rose petals; white chocolate. Mmm. High quality sherry casks come through, offering both sweet notes, as well as oakiness. I’m getting plum, golden raisin, rhubarb pie, coconut, and cut cedar. There are also subtler (industrial) notes of furniture polish (Lemon Pledge) and beeswax–which, together, remind me of an old Springbank Local Barley (bottled long before the fairly recent 11 or the 16).

Palate: Sweet, fruity, and woody notes all comingle with amazing grace. Balvenie Tun 1401 Batch 3 comes to mind. Curious. In the mouth, this dram isn’t anything like a venerable old Springer. As time passes, even the nose seems sweeter. Funny that, but I think I’m in love.

One thing which immediately stands out about Kingsman is the way caramel and twenty-five years of oak tannins join forces to become a single bittersweet note. It’s a force to be reckoned with . . . weaving its way like a golden thread betwixt major arcana. Ee gads, somebody pinch me. Am I dreaming? Other tastes march out of my glass in the following order: Flan; Turbinado sugar; milk chocolate; raisin; prune; Medjool date; young green coconut (a personal favorite); almond; saltwater boiled peanut; orange blossom; orange pekoe tea; all spice; white pepper.

Finish: Nut meats take over, before sacrificing their lives on a death bed of Chinese white pepper. Can you feel the May Queen dance across your clapper? Now that’s magick!

There’s no sense in believing that your tongue is divided into four tasting areas, which run the gamut from bitter to sweet. This whisky proves such a theory to be false, and scientists in the 21st Century tend to agree. My tongue is glad for “all a’ that.” The tip is tingling with a spicy finish that refuses to wink out.

The Takeaway

Summary

According to a GlenDronach spokesperson, this whisky was matured in sherry casks from birth. One quarter of a century--now, that's a long time to count rosary beads in sweet oak. Angels, take your share, but leave the rest for Ishkabibble to ply his bloody trade.

Forget the industry-insider term, "sherry bomb." Holy explosion, Batman. This handsome bottle is an Improvised Explosive Device waiting to detonate a melange of sweet nothings. Boo-yah! We're talking about the finest commemorative IED that money can buy.

I'm giving this special 25 Year Old GlenDronach two thumbs way up. If you can afford to drop 550 quid on a bottle of Scotch, and you love films that feature well-coiffed agents jumping over speeding cars while dodging bullets . . . well then, this is definitely the Sherry IED for you.

As for commemorating Kingsman, the film, let's hope Eggsy has graduated to single malt Scotch in 2017. Back in 2014, when a waiter asked "sir" for his drink order, I seem to recall Eggsy saying, "Martini. Gin, not vodka, obviously. Stirred for ten seconds while glancing an an unopened bottle of vermouth."

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User Rating 3.14 (14 votes)
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About the author

Whisky Kirk

Whisky Kirk is a writer who specializes in fiction and nonfiction dealing with the supernatural, cultural programming, and the entertainment industry. He also plays drums in rock, jazz, Latin, and ancient native forms of music. Kirk lives in Portland, Oregon, where he teaches creative writing at the college level as his “day job.” For him, whisk[e]y is an obsession that spans decades.