Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Glendronach 18 Year Old Single Malt: An Early Christmas Tip

I've got a dream job. I work, with my wife Leonie, in a whisky shop. One of my tasks, and, it goes without saying, one of my very favourite tasks, is quality control. I get to taste many whiskies, whether it may be samples that arrive when I'm at work, or when I'm out and about in the bars of Glasgow, Islay and other places whisky related.

More often than not, I find that one dram struggles to differentiate itself from the next, surprises are few and far between and it doesn't always follow that paying a premium guarantees a quality dram, furthermore, sometimes a product that looks good, but has an inexpensive price tag, can turn out to be incredibly uninteresting.

Last week I received a a consignment of many different whiskies from our main supplier. As ever, I enjoyed looking through the boxes to see what new treasure might lie within. I'd ordered a few bottles of each of the new(ish) range from Glendronach and was glad to see that there was also a sample bottle for us to have a wee taste of.

And so, on Saturday night, I sat in front of the fire, armed to the teeth with a bottle of St Peter's Ruby Red Ale, and a large glass of Glendronach 18 year old Highland Single Malt.

The first thing I noticed was the deep burnt orange colour, (the label had spoken about 100% Olorosso Sherry cask maturation, which sounded very promising). I stuck my nose in and immediately got Xmas pudding, and rich, sweet, toffee aromas...on the palate the Sherry was obvious but pretty sweet for Olorosso. The finish was immense and everlasting, all in all a classic whisky and I have to say a real surprise given the price tag of £52.99 which is nowt for an 18 year old dram of this quality bottled at 46%, with natural colour and no chill filtration.

I've a friend who works for BenRiach Distillers who own Glendronach and I contacted him immediately so that I could source some direct as these whiskies will be terrific for us at The Wine Shop for the Christmas period as they will make the perfect gift recommendation.

As well as the stunning 18 year old expression, there is a 12 year old (£31.99), a 15 year old (£41.99 which apparently, is better than the 18 year old!!) and a 33 year old which I know absolutely nothing about only that it is about £130 per bottle which is incredibly inexpensive for a whisky of that age bottled by the distiller.

So there you have it...an early Christmas 2009 Whisky recommend whether it be for a gift or for drinking in front of the fire on Christmas day. It's not often that we taste something so exciting at that price point and is certainly in the league of the greats at that age such as Bunnahabhain 18 years old, Highland Park 18 years old and dare I say it...even Macallan 18 years old. Call in at the shop and we'll give you a taste....if I haven't drank it all in the meantime!



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