Over on Diving for Pearls Michael Kravitz is in the middle of a week of reviews of unsherried Glendronach (you should go check it out). Me, I’m much more conventional: I have a review of the standard issue 18 yo, the Allardice. I’ve had my eye on this one for a while but the price, north of $100 pretty much ever since it showed up, kept me from buying a bottle. I should also say that when I got a taste of it some years ago I thought the 15 yo was better anyway. However, thanks to the fact that in the EU this costs less than the Glendronach 15 “Revival” does in the US, I finally plumped for a bottle. And (spoiler alert) I’m quite glad I did. I’m not sure, by the way, what the mathematics on this one’s age may reveal. I know that the early editions of the 15 yo had to be quite a bit older than 15 (based on when the distillery was on hiatus) but I’m not sure if that’s true of this as well. Doubtless someone will be along soon to clarify.
Glendronach 18, Allardice (46%; from my own bottle)
Nose: Struck matches, orange peel and raisins. After a bit the citrus shades more towards lemon and there’s some apricot too. Something a little leafy/organic in the background as well. With more time there’s graphite/pencil lead and a bit of cola concentrate as well. So, yes, regulation heavily sherried whisky. With a few drops of water the apricot expands.
Palate: Comes in sweet with the raisins in front and the orange peel following; not much sign of the struck matches here. On the second sip the orange advances and it’s closer to a bright marmalade now. With more time the raisins expand again and it gets quite sticky (dark honey), stopped just short of getting cloying by an infusion of oak spice. As on the nose, with water the apricot expands and there’s a hint of plum too now: call it orange-apricot-plum jam.
Finish: Long. Gets stickier and then at the end there’s some gunpowder (nice and savoury) and some pepper. With more time there’s some clove as well. Spicier with water.
Comments: Very, very nice. I don’t know if it’s quite as good a deal at the US price but for the price it’s selling for in the Europe this is hard to beat. And even in the US, I think if you’re willing to pay $120 for the Highland Park 18, you have to give this a look as well. Well, I have to try the 15 yo again soon and see if I still have that above this.
Rating: 88 points.