Wednesday, December 29, 2021

The GlenDronach Original Aged 12 Years Single Malt Scotch Review & Tasting Notes


There is something to be said about whisky from one of the oldest-licensed distilleries in Scotland. It is difficult to suggest it doesn't know what it is doing. There is something to be said about a distillery specializing in one niche of cooperage since 1826. Again, it isn't easy to say it wouldn't have some expertise in the matter. 

That distillery is The GlenDronach. In 1868, it was the largest duty-paying distillery in the Scottish Highlands. It operated continuously until 1996, when it was mothballed, only to be resurrected six years later. It was one of the last distilleries to utilize coal-fed fire to heat its stills. In 2005, it converted to steam-heat.

"We are renowned as the masters of sherry cask maturation, and our Highland whiskies are recognised for their deep colour and rich flavour profiles, which range from sweet fruity flavours, from the Pedro Ximenez casks we select, to the dry and nutty notes, from superb Oloroso casks. Our well-kept secrets have been guarded for nearly 200 years by a parliament of rooks who love The GlenDronach so much they try to nest in the warehouses. The distillery folk believe as long as the rooks remain at the distillery, it will be good for the whisky." - The GlenDronach

Its Master Blender is Dr. Rachel Barrie. She also serves as Master Blender at The BenRiach and Glenglassaugh distilleries. 

The GlenDronach's basic, core Scotch is called Original Aged 12 Years. It is a single-malt that's been aged in Pedro Ximénez and Oloroso sherry casks. There is no artificial coloring added. Bottled at 43% ABV (that's 86°), the suggested retail is $62.99.

The GlenDronach is an unpeated Scotch, so this could be appealing if smoky isn't your jam. 

I'd like to thank The GlenDronach for providing a sample of The Original Aged 12 in exchange for a no-strings-attached, honest review. It is time to #DrinkCurious and discover if this core whisky is worth picking up.

Appearance:  Poured neat in my Glencairn glass, this Scotch offered the color of deep gold with a slight red tinge. A medium rim formed, which led to an exciting marriage of thick, fast legs and sticky droplets.

Nose:  As soon as I poured it into my glass, the air filled with fruity aromas. I could nail down raisin, plum, apple, and pear, but an unmistakable fragrance of honey mingled with the fruit. When I drew the vapor into my lips, more fruit, this time apricot, waltzed across my tongue. 

Palate:  As the whisky rolled past my lips, my mouth was greeted by an oily mouthfeel with a medium-weighted body. Ginger stood in tandem with green grape and orange peel on the front. The middle was simple, consisting of malt and dark chocolate. Flavors of leather, sweet tobacco, and oak were on the back.

Finish:  A medium-long, peppery finish added raisin, leather, and oak, which seemed to compliment the palate.

Bottle, Bar, or Bust:  Overall, I've been impressed with The GlenDronach's whiskeys. This was my first experience with its base product. I loved the nose, the palate, and the finish. There was a complete absence of anything remotely astringent (Band-aid taste), and that's a net positive for me. Frankly, for $62.99, I believe Original Aged 12 Years is a bargain and definitely earns my Bottle rating. Cheers!

My Simple, Easy to Understand Rating System
  • Bottle = Buy It
  • Bar = Try It
  • Bust = Leave It

Whiskeyfellow encourages you to enjoy your whiskey as you see fit but begs that you do so responsibly.

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