GlenDronach 18 Years Old Marsala Cask Finish

Speyside single malt scotch whisky

46% ABV, £71.95 for 70cl from Royal Mile Whiskies

Score: 89/100

Glendronach18yoMarsala

What they say:

Glendronach released a new 18 years old Marsala cask finish (February 19th 2015) which owes its distinctive flavour to the influence of a small number of Marsala hogsheads.

This unique expression was initially matured in European oak casks and thereafter finished its maturation in a small batch of Marsala hogsheads.

The aromatic influence of the Italian fortified wine cask on the sweet Highland malt whisky is spectacular, creating a new layer of depth that stunningly marries together summer fruits with peppery oak spice.

Colour: Rich burnt amber edged with sparkling gold.

Nose: Golden syrup over stewed orchard fruits infused with a touch of candied ginger, hazelnut and warm, deep oak spices.

Taste: Richly-spiced wildflower honey pours over fire-roasted apples, softening to golden sultanas and ripe pear. All balanced with vibrant ginger, white pepper, fresh-cut oak and stewed barley.

Finish: Torrents of delicious contrasting full-bodied characters, rolling from dominant summer fruits to peppery, richly toasted oak spice.

This new expression follows the recent Sauternes and Tawny Port Wood finish releases and is a strictly limited release.

GlenDronach18yoMarsalaGC

What I say:

A Marsala wine cask finished 18 year old expression from GlenDronach distillery in Speyside. Famed for their sherry-matured releases, occasionally they release other interesting maturations/finishes such as this one. A limited release of ~ 2,000 bottles this one was selling like hot-cakes on release!

Colour:

Carrot orange refractive gold (10/20) medium droplet tears

Nose:

Sweet blossom honey and golden syrup, cereal barley grist and flour, hints of ginger and orange marmalade, stewed apricots, madeira cake, lemon juice, a little spicy tamarind and hazelnut latte

Taste:

Sweet, floral orange blossom honey, golden syrup, cereal milled malted barley, madeira cake, zesty oranges, apples and pears poached in brandy or calvados, honeyed roast hazelnuts and almonds, crunchy nut cornflakes, spicy ginger, tamarind and cinnamon with hints of white pepper, creamy vanilla, a touch of sweet molten white chocolate and hazelnut latte

Finish:

Medium-long, sweet, honeyed roast hazelnuts and a little tannic drying oak with ginger spice becomes mouth-watering

Overall:

Delicious, wish I had bought more than the one bottle! The Marsala cask finish is incorporated beautifully into this GlenDronach expression, just the right amount of sweet fruit and nut flavours without becoming cloying and plenty of lovely spice from the oak balance this one to perfection. Slightly drying and moreish at the end making you want to go back for more. This one is liquid crunchy nut cornflakes!