2008 Glendronach 11 Year Old K&L Exclusive First Fill Single Oloroso Puncheon #2988 Cask Strength – Scotch Whisky News

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2008 Glendronach 11 Year Old K&L Exclusive First Fill Single Oloroso Puncheon #2988 Cask Strength Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky ($99.99) After a nearly half decade hiatus, we’re back with a distillery-bottled exclusive single cask of ‘Dronanch. This delicious barrel was selected by our two spirits buyers, Andrew and David, way back in May of 2019. This Oloroso puncheon was filled September 17 of 2008 and bottled at the beginning of 2020 at cask strength without chill-filtration. Glendronach has become one of Scotland’s most well regarded and consistently delicious producers. The distillery was officially founded 1826, just outside the town of Huntley in a hidden valley in the rolling hills of the Eastern Highlands. The distillery was refurbished with two additional stills in the ’60s and was one of the last distilleries to stop using coal to fire the stills. The floor maltings continued to operate until 1996. GlenDronach had long been renowned for its use of sherry casks, but not until the BenRiach company purchased the distillery in 2008 did it become a serious contender in the eyes of whisky aficionados. This would have been one of the first whiskies distilled by the new owners. In 2016, Brown-Forman purchased Glendronach and its sister distilleries. Now, we finally have access to single casks from this special distillery once again. Holding nearly 100L more than a standard sherry butt, this first fill sherry puncheon has everything you’ve come to expect from this excellent distillery – bold, rich, and powerful. There are few better on the market than this special malt from the Valley of the Brambles.

David Othenin-Girard | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: June 24, 2020I’ve always had a soft spot for this wonderful distillery. It was one of the first distillers to sell us single casks way back in 2011. Then they had significant old stocks at outrageously low prices. Part of what made Glendronach a household name was access to these stocks, a fact I try to impress on every distillery trying to make waves in today’s cutthroat Scotch market. There is in fact very little room for BS any longer in this category. Things that aren’t priced fairly or don’t have the provenance to garner high prices simply don’t sell. As Glendronach became more prominent and it’s older stocks dwindled, our access did as well. Now products that we once sold for $150, would cost us $3-400. So we took a step back. And when Glendronach sold in 2016 we were prepared to say good buy to the single cask program forever. Amazingly, the new owners have refreshed attitude toward this program and acknowledged immediately that continuing the line would be a crucial aspect of their marketing strategy. But, we were still seeing single casks in the over 18 year range priced well over $400 so we were skeptical that we’d find something that worked. So, when we dropped by the distillery in the Spring of 2019, we weren’t sure what would be on offer. Our only stipulation was that it be less than $100 on the shelf. I was prepared to taste through 5-6 year old stock, but our old friend Rachel Barrie instead offered us two choices, PX and Oloroso Puncheon just under 12 years old. These were some of the first stocks distilled after Billy Walker had taken over the distillery and a perfect example of the quality the new owners had brought to the old distillery. Both were excellent, but we were only allowed one. It wasn’t an easy choice, but we ended up going with the puncheon because it more than exemplified the “classic” ‘dronach flavor profile. And while this is a first fill it’s not one of the motor oil dark malts. Instead its full of nuance, depth and balance. Over a year after our original selection, this cask is finally here. Even with tariffs, Glendronach honored their commitment to keep the price under $100 and we couldn’t be more proud to be selling this gorgeous cask of this special malt. IT’s difficult to find a better OB in the shop right now and for $100 this a no brainer for any lower of high proof sherry. The color is deep copper. The nose is a heady mixture of medium roast coffee beans, fig jam, jamon, burnt orange peel and graphite pencil shavings. The palate is surprisingly sweet considering the strong oloroso influence – full of dried apricots, plums, old leather, dark chocolate, roasted almonds and fudge candy. Chewy and textured, the finish builds into a long spicy beast. I wouldn’t add more than a drop or two of water, but if you do you’ll find the dark roasty flavors take a back seat to the fruit, followed by more exotic wood and spice. I rarely perfer young cask strength whisky with out ANY water, but this one I think doesn’t benefit much from the addition. The sweetness on the palate totally hides the 60% abv, but the big spicy finish keeps you from forgetting what you’re drinking. It’s a lovely example of what’s going on at this special distillery in the modern era and a great sign for what is to come of the next decade. They’re still making some serious juice here and hopefully we’ll continue to be able to offer casks that deliver on the promise of value and quality that built the Glendronach name.

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