Glendronach Allardice 18 years

"I actually prefer this to the both the 15-year-old and cask strengt releases, it lacks the youthful vibrancy of the sherry cask influence, and that is exactly what I like, more maturity"

(Photo from Whiskybase)

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This 18-year-old is named after the renowned founder of the distillery James Allardice, who on a chilly winter’s night in 1826 founded Glendronach by forming a partnership with local farmers. Although his charismatic lead built a strong reputation, unfortunately a fire in 1837 and bankruptcy in 1842 almost destroyed the distillery. However, Walter Scott and, in particular, Capt. Charles Grant rebuilt the distillery before in felt into the hands of Allied Distillers in 1976. The release of single malts in either bourbon casks or sherry casks in 1991 was ahead of its time and lacked serious backing by the owners. The distillery was mothballed between 1996 and 2002, bought by Pernod Ricard, which favoured bourbon cask maturation, and was sold in 2008 to The Benriach Distilling Co. This finally brought the deserved recognition for the distillery and made sherry cask maturation the signature style of Glendronach. Yet another hand-over in 2016, now to Jack Daniel’s Tennessee whiskey producer Brown-Forman, will reveal if the high quality of the pre-1996-mothballing stock can be equalled by the new century’s distillate.

Nose

The sherry influence is clear from the start. A bowl filled with currants, a bar of 50% chocolate, and a slightly over-baked cake crust. Give it some time and then almond cake and a whiff of an old library are revealed. I find it distinguished and balanced. I could even call it somewhat restraint. The sherry cask influence is less vibrant, nicely integrated into the spirit, and feels mature. Add to the whole some hot dried apricots, before it develops into liquorice, hints of dried black currants and dried cranberries, and some cranberry juice.

Taste

The palate starts with raisin cake, followed by roasted hazelnuts, could also be pine nuts, black currant juice, and fresh walnuts. Each sip posseses a nutty finish, and there are dreads of dry Oloroso sherry throughout the palate. There are also chocolate brownies and coffee. It becomes slightly to dry, very dry in fact, like putting a spoon of cacao powder and coffee powder in your mouth.

Overall

Glendronach’s sherried whiskies have received much attention the last couple of years with the legendary 15-year-old and the cask strength versions gained the most applause. Just having tasted this 18-year-old Allerdice, I have to conclude that I actually prefer this to the both above mentioned releases. It lacks the youthful vibrancy of the sherry cask influence, and that is exactly what I like so much. It feels much more integrated and distinguished, things I like to see in a whisky of this age. Makes me want to try the 21-year-old. I do not know exactly the date of bottling for this particular version, so because of the mothballing from 1996-2002 it could actually be that it exceeds the minimum of 18-years by several years (for more information see this great article).

What others say

Whiskybase: 87.48 (1325 votes) * Serge Valentin @Whiskyfun: 86/100 * @Whiskynotes: 81/100 * @WorldWhisky: 9.1/100 * @AllThingsWhisky: 88/100
Read for yourself

A big thanks to for sharing the sample!

Scores

these are my personal views, so do not take them too seriously… nothing beats tasting these for yourself •

Cask influence
60%
Peat/smoke
0.5%
  • Currants
  • Cake crust
  • Nutty
Nose 87%
Taste 86%
Balance 87%
Depth 86.5%
Finish 87%
Score