With a name like “Three Generations” this whisky doubtless has some complicated story behind it. However, I’m too tired to track it down. I’m not even sure if it is a single cask. I know it is comprised of whisky distilled in 1975 and is, unusually for Glendronach, not from sherry casks. This sells in the vicinity of $300 in the US (where still available) but it was recently discounted heavily in the state of Oregon and this discounted price was split further between me, Jordan D. (of Chemistry of the Cocktail), Michael K. (of Diving for Pearls) and Florin (master of the oyster dance). Let’s get right to it.
Glendronach 33, 1975, Three Generations (51.4%; from a bottle split with friends)
Nose: Honey, malt and toasted oak–spicy and creamy with a nice hit of vanilla. Below that there’s a bit of prickly, peppery citrus (somewhere between lemon and orange). With time/air the fruit takes a slightly tropical turn with some (tinned) pineapple and papaya making their way into the mix. With more time the fruit gets muskier and takes over. With a lot more time there’s a fair bit of tart mango on the nose. With a drop of water the fruit is joined by more malt and wood.
Palate: The fruit is the story here: orange, lemon peel, pineapple, hints of papaya and mango. Tingling oak alongside and some pepper too. Nice mouthfeel. With time the mango note intensifies but so does the wood–still balanced though. Okay, let’s add some water. Water doesn’t do anything interesting for it–mostly it emphasizes the citrus (closer to lime now) over the tropical fruit notes.
Finish: Medium-long. No new development but the oak takes over from the fruit as the dominant note. Gets sweeter with water and also a bit longer.
Comments: This is very nice and not at all Glendronach as its profile has come to be known (it’s not that older sherried Glendronachs are not fruity but that most older Glendronachs, like most contemporary young and middle-aged Glendronachs, tend to be sherried). The general fruity profile is very close to that of other long-aged ex-bourbon whiskies I’ve had from the general era (from Longmorn, Tomatin, Caperdonich etc.) and I cannot help but count it as further evidence for my theory that rather than distillery character and magical “vintages” the real variable is distillate of a certain type placed in certain types of wood for long periods of time. Still, this is lacking just enough intensity and development to keep it out of the upper echleon in the style.
Rating: 88 points.