The GlenDronach Allardice 18 Year Single Malt Scotch Whisky Review


One of my favorite Highland Scotch distilleries is The GlenDronach. The distillery exploits fine sherry casks to age its newmake and create something consistently above-par. Located in Aberdeenshire, it was founded in 1826 by James Allardice; its name comes from the Gaelic Glen (meaning valley) and Dronach (meaning brambles or blackberries) from the Dronach Burn, which is the river that provides the distillery its water. Together, The GlenDronach means the valley of the blackberries.


Things were great for nine years until the distillery was destroyed by fire in 1837. Not interested in giving up, Allardice quickly rebuilt it. Allardice went bankrupt in 1842 and had to divest himself of his assets, including The GlenDronach. In 1852, Walter Scott, the former distillery manager of Teaninich, became the owner until 1877. Over the next 40-some-odd years, it changed hands several times and was eventually acquired by Captain Charles Grant in 1920. His family maintained ownership until 1960 when William Teachers & Sons purchased the distillery. At that point, The GlenDronach went through a refitting that included adding two stills.


By 1976, Teachers had been purchased by Allied Distillers, and the deal included The GlenDronach. The distillery was shuttered in 1996. Six years later, Allied revived it, and in 2005, Pernod Ricard purchased Allied, but it wasn’t interested in keeping The GlenDronach. In 2008, BenRiach Distillery Co., Ltd., led by Billy Walker, purchased it and honed in on aging whisky in ex-sherry casks instead of former Bourbon barrels. Things went well and caught the attention of Brown-Forman, who bought it, along with BenRiach and Glenglassaugh. Dr. Rachel Barrie was brought in as the Master Blender of all three distilleries. At the same time, Billy Walker went to The GlenAllachie.


A relatively recent decision by The GlenDronach was to introduce chill filtration to its whiskies. This change was controversial among fans of the brand. My view on chill filtration is the same as nearly every other aspect of the whiskey in front of me: How does it smell and taste? At the end of the day, that’s really all that matters.


Today, I’m exploring The GlenDronach Allardice 18-year-old single malt Scotch.


“The GlenDronach 18 years old has been named after the renowned founder of the distillery, James Allardice. This exceptional sherried single malt is natural in colour and bottled at 46% ABV. Matured in the finest Spanish Oloroso sherry casks, this sublime richly sherried malt is truly unforgettable.” – The GlenDronach


A 750ml of this whisky runs about $249.99. Father’s Day is right around the corner. Is this one worthy of Dad? We’ll have to #DrinkCurious to answer that, but before we get there, I must thank The GlenDronach for providing me with a sample in exchange for my no-strings-attached, honest review.


Appearance: I poured this Scotch into my Glencairn glass to sip neat. Inside, the burnt-umber liquid produced a medium rim. It shedded slow, syrupy tears.


Nose: Dark chocolate-covered cherries hung heavy in the air. The cherries then became jammy. As I continued sniffing, a hint of cinnamon was quickly overrun by strawberries and blueberries. There was more dark chocolate when I drew that aroma inside my mouth.


Palate: Allardice’s texture was silky, yet it carried weight. The front of my palate found allspice, leather, and nutmeg. I encountered black pepper, dried cherries, and plums as it moved to the middle. The back featured roasted almonds, dark chocolate, and orange rind.


Finish: What stuck around were dark chocolate, orange rind, plums, leather, cherries, and roasted almonds. The long duration allowed for plenty of time to identify the various notes.


Bottle, Bar, or Bust: The GlenDronach Allardice 18-year-old highlights what Dr. Barrie can do with 100% malted barley and former sherry casks. The whisky is well-balanced, with near-perfect transitions from the front to middle to back. The finish held on; it was one of those that I didn’t want to end.


If I were shopping for a Father’s Day present, and my Dad enjoyed Scotch, I’d buy this for him in a heartbeat. Then, I’d buy a Bottle for myself. It is one of the best single malts I’ve tried in 2024. 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 you to do so responsibly.