Let’s start the month with one of the five single cask bottles I opened in the week of my 50th birthday. I selected whiskies that were distilled and/or bottled in significant years of my life. The secondary goal was to end up with a group that spanned the old Scotch regions and also a range of whisky styles that I enjoy. First up from the set is this Glendronach 19. It was distilled in 1993, the year I left India for the US—permanently, as it turned out. This is a PX cask that was bottled for the UK market. It’s one of several 19 year olds distilled that year and bottled in 2012 or 2013—Whiskybase lists 17! Now, we know that at Glendronach “single cask” doesn’t necessarily mean the whisky is from a single cask. And it’s also true that some of the least successful examples of “single cask” whisky from Glendronach have been PX casks (see, for example, this one and also this one). On the other hand, there have also been some I’ve liked (like this one). Where will this one fall?
Glendronach 19, 1993 (57.1%; PX Cask 26 for the UK; from my own bottle)
Nose: Rich leathery sherry with a good dose of ripe plum. On the second sniff there’s some dark soy sauce, dried mushrooms, damp earth and a bit of dry oak. As it sits the ripe plum edges into dark plum sauce territory. With more time the fruit is richer yet with a bit of apricot jam and some dried orange peel joining the plum. Water softens it, pulling out some creamier notes
Palate: Pretty much as promised by the nose: syrupy fruit held in check by oak, dried mushrooms and earth. Very drinkable at full strength but the texture is a bit thin. Oakier on the second sip. More acidic with time. Let’s see what water does. Well, it emphasizes the orange peel over the sharper acid and and pushes the tannins back a bit; more of the leather too now.
Finish: Medium-long. The tannic notes expand here but not overbearingly so. As on the palate with water, getting earthier as it goes.
Comments: Sherried whisky with a big Armagnac crossover. This is not flabby in the least bit, not one of the problematic “single” PX casks Glendronach has put out. I’ll be interested to see how the bottle develops as it stays open but right now I wish the earthy notes would keep pace with the acid on the palate. That’s pretty much all that’s keeping it out of the next tier for me. I preferred it with a touch of water.
Rating: 89 points.