News & Review: GlenDronach Cask Strength Batch 2

Cask-Strength-infrontGlenDronach Cask Strength Batch 2 – 55.2%

Firstly the PR blurb, followed by my tasting / review notes below…

Just five months after the launch of its new Cask Strength expression, GlenDronach, the award-winning Aberdeenshire distillery, has this week bottled the second batch of this phenomenal new single malt.
“It really is down to huge demand in the international marketplace,” revealed Sales Director Alistair Walker. “All 12,000 bottles in Batch One sold out in a matter of weeks and since the turn of the year our agents around the world have been calling for a second batch. We’re delighted to respond with this new expression.”
BENRIA_026500_1Batch One got rave reviews from Glendronach aficionados. “Sublime whisky”; “Like flakes melting in dark chocolate”; “This whisky is superb. Like a kid in a toy shop drinking this”; and “On the palate you got chocolate raisins and dark caramel. Give it twenty seconds and you got caramel and cream. Can’t wait for batch 2” were just some of the favourable comments.
“We believe Batch Two will exceed people’s expectations,” added Alistair. “It’s a superlative dram; the fullness of flavour is really astonishing.”
“Cask Strength” simply means that the whisky is bottled at the natural strength, straight out of the barrel. Each batch is unique, and the batches will continue to be released as long as this expression remains popular with consumers.
The second batch has been personally selected once again by Master Blender Billy Walker. At 55.2% vol, non chill-filtered and bottled at its natural colour, it has been matured as before in a combination of the finest Oloroso and Pedro Ximenez sherry casks.

Now on to my review and tasting notes…

Medium dark gold in colour.

At first the nose has some varnish notes that come through, but they soon disappear and it becomes full of creamy buttery fruits; blitzed / stewed autumn fruits with lashings of thick sweet vanilla custard and a handful of chopped nuts thrown over the top. A really interesting nose that kept me smelling for a long while, the longer it has to breath the better, the sweet notes increase with time. There’s not too much wood coming through leading me to assume it’s a touch young, or second fill cask, either way, it’s well balanced.

On the palate it’s instantly a wee bit hot in the middle of your tongue, that could be the high ABV or some younger age, or maybe a bit of both. But stick with it, it’s a pleasurable dram, fairly soft (ie even if it’s a bit hot its not particularly spicy) and enjoyable, some of the fruity cream notes come through well as if you’re eating a rhubarb and custard sweet (candy). The mouthfeel is medium thick and coating, and malty tones come through really well.

A drop of water doesn’t hurt one little bit, it takes away some of the heat and makes it more enjoyable so is probably advisable, even if just a drop. It takes some of the creaminess away, but brings out a little bit more wood which balances things up. The finish is pretty long, fruity and fun.

It’s a while since I tried Batch 1, but from memory I wasn’t totally blown away… This batch I find a definite improvement (as far as I can recall anyway) and a great dram at a reasonable price. I often find GlenDronach has a sour side that I sometimes don’t get on with, but this dram is sweet enough to enjoy without the sour kick behind it. High 80’s in score!

Sample kindly sent by GlenDronach.
Available at various places including The Green Welly Stop for £46.99 (at time of posting).


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