I really liked the last Whiskybase exclusive Glendronach—this 21 yo oloroso cask from 1993—and am hoping this 19 yo from a PX cask will have more in common with it than with the controversial PX cask 23 yo that led to all the fuss about Glendronach’s use of the term “single cask”. Of course, what that controversy tells us is that using the terms “oloroso cask” or “PX cask” may be meaningless. As the cask information on the label only refers to the last cask in which more than one cask may have been re-racked, this so-called PX cask may in fact have whisky in it that spent far more of its life in oloroso casks, and the so-called oloroso casks that so many prefer may have whisky in them that spent a goodly portion of their lives in bourbon casks (and may even have been re-racked alongside PX casks). Yes, what finally matters is what a particular whisky tastes like, but if that’s the case, why bother putting cask details on the labels at all? Anyway, I shouldn’t get on a high horse about this as I’m obviously still buying Glendronach’s “single cask” releases.
Glendronach 19, 1995 (54.2%; PX cask 3804 for Whiskybase; from my own bottle)
Nose: Leather and plum sauce to start and then a fair bit of beef stock along with some pencil lead and some dried, woody tangerine peel. Very nice. Gets a little more cough syrupy as it sits but the citrus gets brighter as well; some apricot now too. Some leafy, mossy notes too—more “organic” on the whole than you might expect from a PX cask; not much sticky sweetness to speak of. With more time the fruit, the apricot particularly, is more pronounced and shaded nicely by the pencil lead/graphite. Water gets rid of the organic notes and emphasizes the fruit more still.
Palate: Bright citrus hits first (orange) along with some wood and then the graphite. Not sticky sweet here either but it is sweeter and a little flabbier. On the second sip there’s more tannic oak and it reins in what seemed at first might be an expanding syrupiness. Gets a little sharper as it goes (a touch of savoury sulphur but it adds good balance here). Stickier with time but the graphite expands alongside and keeps the sweetness from getting overbearing. Less flabby and not as sharp with water but somehow less interesting.
Finish: Medium. No real development here and just the slightest bit of separation of sherry at the end. Water lengthens the finish but the sharper notes emerge later now and talk a bit more loudly.
Comments: I really liked the nose; on the palate there’s less complexity but it’s a very pleasurable, heavily sherried whisky. A good everyday drinker (if not exactly priced that way). I enjoyed it more without water.
Rating: 87 points.