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Scotch

GlenDronach Cask Strength Batch 11

$100.00

OVERALL
RATING

9

Whisky Review: GlenDronach Cask Strength Batch 11

Tasting Notes:

About:
No age statement. 119.6 Proof (59.8% ABV). Matured in Pedro Ximénez and Oloroso sherry casks. ~$100/700mL.
Appearance:
Ruddy amber, with a tint of cedar brown.
Nose:
Dark fruit of blackberry and sultanas are immediately evident with sweet treacle also noticeable. However, a patient consumer will find hints of brine, hay, and chocolate hiding in the edges.
Palate:
Like the nose, blackberries and oranges start off, with more honeyed treacle and ginger filling the center. A bit of salt brine and chocolate show up on the back ridges of the tongue, while honeycomb and berry pie crest to a nice finish of cinnamon spice.
Finish:
Comments:
A confirmed Sherry Bomb, this is a much softer and sweeter whisky than expected from a cask strength dram. Approachable for beginners (who may want to use an ice cube) and nuanced for enthusiasts, it has something for everyone and can bring a holiday flavor to any time of year.

Editor’s Note: This whisky was provided to us as a review sample by the party behind it. 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 in this review our site receives a small referral payment which helps to support, but not influence, our editorial and other costs.

Any hobby or pastime, regardless of its origin, develops slang and colloquialisms used to describe the activity. For example, in American football, a last-ditch heave for the win is called a “Hail Mary.” In soccer, the act of kicking a ball through your opponent’s legs is a “Nutmeg.”

The whisky industry is no different, with some of my favorite phrases being “Monkey Shoulder” – a strain injury resulting from shoveling heavy malt which causes the arm of to hang down – and the “Bung hole,” i.e. the opening of the barrel from which whisky is added and drained.

In the context of today’s review of the GlenDronach Cask Strength Batch 11, most scotch drinkers will know immediately what I mean when I say it is a “Sherry Bomb.” This phrase is used to describe a heavily sherried whisky, most often with a high ABV content. GlenDronach distillery is one of the best purveyors of heavily sherried Scotches and have been perfecting the art of sherry cask maturation since 1826.

Their flagship line, the 12, 15, 18, and 21-year variations, are all matured in Andalucian Pedro Ximénez and Oloroso sherry casks to varying degrees. Also of note, the word “Andalucian” refers to the region of southern Spain, famous for their sherry, and is one of my favorite words behind “brobdingnagian,” from Gulliver’s Travels.

GlenDronach markets its whiskies, including the GlenDronach Cask Strength Batch 11, as matured in oak sherry casks. Matured whisky is a term of art, different than the more commonly seen phrase of “finished,” and means the whisky has aged to maturation in a particular barrel. A finished whisky refers to a shorter end-of-maturation shift to a different barrel. Given that nearly 70% of the flavor in whiskey is derived from the maturation cask, the difference between a matured and finished whisky is significant.

The GlenDronach Cask Strength Batch 11 release comes with no age statement. This should not be taken as a sign of lack of quality, but in more likelihood is caused by an intentional blending of various aged Glendronach whiskies, curated to produce a particular flavor. The whisky was matured in Spanish Oak Pedro Ximénez and Oloroso sherry casks and comes in at a whopping 59.8% ABV. These factors suggest an intense sherry flavor, as the spirit has not been watered down to the more frequent 40-45% ABV, but with more variety than the standard line as the blended whiskies will provide a broader palate.

A side by side tasting with the GlenDronach 15-year Revival, roughly comparable in price, confirms this expectation, revealing a sweeter and more rounded whisky in the cask strength, but comes up just short of the height of sherry passion in the standard line.  For the adventurous soul, pairing the whiskey with contrasting flavors, such as a steak or cigar, would highlight the sherry flavor without risk of diminishing the spirit due to the high concentration.

GlenDronach Cask Strength Batch 11 review
We review GlenDronach Cask Strength Batch 11, matured in Pedro Ximénez and Oloroso sherry casks and bottled at 119.6 proof. (image via Glendronach)

Tasting Notes: Glendronach Cask Strength Batch 11 

Vital Stats: No age statement. 119.6 Proof (59.8% ABV). Matured in Pedro Ximénez and Oloroso sherry casks. ~$100/700mL.

Appearance: Ruddy amber, with a tint of cedar brown.

Nose: Dark fruit of blackberry and sultanas are immediately evident with sweet treacle also noticeable. However, a patient consumer will find hints of brine, hay, and chocolate hiding in the edges.

Palate: Like the nose, blackberries and oranges start off, with more honeyed treacle and ginger filling the center. A bit of salt brine and chocolate show up on the back ridges of the tongue, while honeycomb and berry pie crest to a nice finish of cinnamon spice.

Jeffrey Nitschke

I am a Portland area attorney whose career has dovetailed with a love of fine spirits and cigars. With no formal training in the field, my own interest spurred a thorough education through books, articles, visits to distilleries all over the United States, and a few deep dives into Wikipedia. Outside of my career and ever escalating pursuit of good whiskey, I can be found enjoying CrossFit, gardening, and playing music.

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