Editor’s Note: This whisky was provided to us as a review sample by GlenDronach. This in no way, per our editorial policies, influenced the final outcome of this review. It should also be noted that by clicking the buy link towards the bottom of this review our site receives a small referral payment which helps to support, but not influence, our editorial and other costs.
The GlenDronach Distillery was established in 1826 and is one of Scotland’s oldest licensed distilleries. And while it isn’t a given that the longer a distillery remains, the better they get, I do believe this applies to The GlenDronach and their output. It helps that the distillery is constantly exploring new and exciting releases, including their Cask Strength series with The GlenDronach Cask Strength Batch 10.
The GlenDronach is known for its single malt whisky, and recently expanded the distillery with an investment from Brown-Forman of $30.5 million, securing a future for the well-regarded brand. With the tenth release of the Cask Strength Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky, Master Blender Rachel Barrie continues to impress with the depth and complexity displayed in the expression.
As with any good cask strength whisky, Batch 10 emits robustness and complexity, coming in at a powerful yet mid-level (for cask strength) brawn at 117 proof. Master Blender Rachel Barrie created The GlenDronach Cask Strength Batch 10 from Pedro Ximénez and Oloroso sherry casks from Spain and bottled the whisky at the natural cask strength – customary according to traditional methods from before the turn of the 20th Century.
Honestly, I used to avoid Scotch whisky. I found it far too smoky for my palate, and thought it overwhelmed the more subtle flavors that would otherwise stand out in the profile. My opinion was that Scotch was for those who preferred classic and traditional to contemporary and cutting-edge. It wasn’t a negative judgement, as I fully understand and appreciate the value in a finely aged Scotch, and I do prefer more classic bourbon and rye, but as far as Scotch went, it simply wasn’t for me.
My opinion began to change, however, with my recent foray into The GlenDronach Distillery. The Cask Strength Batch 10 is another joyous tasting, with rich flavor and full body with nuanced flavors that subtly coat the palate, offering the perfect amount of smokiness with a clean, beautiful finish.
The GlenDronach Cask Strength Batch 10 (image via The Glendronach)
Nose: The whisky opens with a soft leathery scent. Faint oak comes through, and quickly merges with fruity notes of raisin and the maple frosting on a donut.
Palate: More powerful on the palate than the nose. The palate begins with the sweetness of a clove that rests on the tongue. Cherries and brown sugar meld with a faint nuttiness, and warming spices offer a smooth finish.
Much of this tasting was spent thinking about other Scotch whiskies I’ve experienced. As stated above, I’m certainly not the premiere voice in Scotch, but as an outsider slowly working my way into the folds, I can recommend to other newbies that The GlenDronach is a great place to start.
Jerry Sampson is a freelance writer, editor and screenwriter. Her creative work is ever improved by her love of whiskey and craft cocktails. She enjoys taking cool fall days to explore the great distilleries around Portland to get a closer look at the inner workings of her favorite spirits.