A third 25 yo whisky to end the week and this is an official release with a rather big reputation: a Glendronach distilled in 1968 and bottled in 2003. I’ve had small pours of it on a couple of occasions before; this large sample came to me from the ever-generous Sku. This is a throwback to Glendronach’s past, distilled and bottled before the Billy Walker era (which itself ended last year). Indeed this whisky was bottled when the distillery was still owned by Allied Distillers and before it was mothballed in 1996. It’s an old-school sherry monster that does more at 43% than most others of its kind do at cask strength, and I’m looking forward to making its acquaintance again.
By the way, the usually restrained Johannes van den Heuvel gave this whisky 97 points! I’m not sure when in his whisky tasting career he rated this or what he would make of it now. Anyway, let’s get to it.
Glendronach 25, 1968 (43%; from a sample from a friend)
Nose: Rich sherry with lots of fruit (orange, apricot, peach, plantain and whiffs of mango). Earthy notes as well under those along with some pipe tobacco and just a hint of soy sauce. A little stickier with water but nothing very new emerges.
Palate: Altogether earthier here with mushrooms and coffee grounds. More oak too. Mouthfeel is just a bit too thin. With more time the fruit begins to emerge here as well (and there’s some cherry mixed in too) but the oak is still in the lead here. A few drops of water pull more of the brighter fruit out alongside the oak—more balance here now.
Finish: Medium. The earthy/bitter notes are ascendant here too. A bit longer with time and the orange and apricot pop out again. As on the palate with water.
Comments: The palate and finish can’t quite live up to the glorious nose, but with a nose so glorious it’s hard to complain. As is sometimes the case with older malts at lower strengths, water actually improved things on the palate and finish.
Rating: 90 points.
Big thanks to Sku for the sample!