The GlenDronach Cask Strength Batch 12 is a complex creation with a cornucopia of flavours

Created with the distillery’s historic methods, the result is a multi-layered, richly sherried Highland single malt

In a world that’s in relentless change, there’s something to be revered about the time-honoured practices championed by The GlenDronach, the globally renowned creator of fine whiskies. A darling of the spirit scene since its founding in 1826, and located deep in the Forgue, a valley at the heart of the East Highland hills of Aberdeenshire, this heritage-driven producer is celebrated as one of Scotland’s oldest licensed distilleries and one which is famed not only for its use of the local bounty – from the soft water that’s sourced from underwater springs in the Balnoon hills, to the malted barley provided by long-standing partners – but also for its distinctive production method whereby Highland single-malt Scotch whisky is matured in a selection of premium Andalusian oak sherry casks.

This signature practice, which has been adhered to since it was first put into effect by founder James Allardice, and is carried out in relatively small batches, results in a series of richly flavoured libations that fade between sweet, fruity flavours to dry and nutty hits. Across the small but illustrious range are the 21-year-aged Parliament, which mixes ripe autumnal fruits with spiced oatmeal biscuits; the gold-toned Allardice, known for its indulgent mix of chocolate and toasted walnut bread; and the Revival, flavoured with dark manuka honey and herbal bitters. And the brand’s latest creation, The GlenDronach Cask Strength Batch 12, is yet another superlative addition to the label’s line of elegant expressions.

Lovingly produced by The GlenDronach’s distillery team, and directed by Master Blender Rachel Barrie, a lionised figure in the drinks world who grew up close to the distillery’s premises, The GlenDronach Cask Strength Batch 12 is a complex product that stays true to the tried-and-tested method of dovetailing the robust flavours of the Highlands with the beauties of Spanish wood, a material from which nearly 70% of the big, bold flavour comes.

By taking a full-bodied spirit – distilled in stills that have been designed like oversized saxophones, as it is said that such a fluid shape helps maximise scents and notes – and leaving it to slowly mature in the dunnage warehouses’ casks, the result is a multi-layered, richly sherried Highland single malt that’s thick with Pedro Ximénez and Oloroso sherry, hits of velvety spice, and smacks of toasted almond, crystallised ginger, and dark-chocolate tiramisu.

The fine fragrance that perfumes the drinking experience is also a rich mix, defined by its wafts of mocha and cappuccino that’ve been offset with sweeter profiles of raisin-filled fruit cake and orange. And the finish, which is just as refined, has lingers of morello cherry and caramelised crème brûlée.

Of equal note, and perhaps the first thing that makes a statement impression on the drinker, is the hue of the liquid – the result of the long maturation in the oak casks – which reveals itself as a luscious body of amber that appears as rich as the taste that it carries.

“The GlenDronach Cask Strength offers connoisseurs a deep insight into the distillery’s signature character, by bottling at the whisky’s natural cask strength, as was the custom before the turn of the 20th Century,” says Barrie, who also advises on the finest way to best appreciate this fine creation: “Add a drop or two of water to open up the liquid and reveal a cornucopia of flavours”, she notes. “Such is the reward of our twelfth batch of The GlenDronach Cask Strength”.

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GlenDronach is a registered trademark. ©2023 Benriach

Want more from The GlenDronach? We travel to Aberdeenshire, to discover a distillery brimming with a history of fine craftsmanship and award-winning whisky…

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