Whisky Review: GlenDronach Peated Port Wood
Category: Highland single malt scotch whisky
Origin: GlenDronach Distillery
Bottling: Brown-Forman, Official
Cost: £59.95 from Master of Malt
What they say:
The GlenDronach Distillery is pleased to announce the exclusive release of The GlenDronach Peated Port Wood, a rare example of Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky, made in the ‘old style’, from malted barley dried with Highland peat.
Inspired by the historical import of casked port into Scotland during the nineteenth century, the peated spirit has undergone a final maturation in the finest port pipes, from the Douro Valley in Portugal. The GlenDronach whisky maker hand-selected and expertly combined these port pipes, to create this seasonal expression.
The GlenDronach Peated Port Wood is bottled at 46% ABV, non chill filtered and of natural colour.
The GlenDronach Peated Port Wood may be considered a surprising expression from this distillery but in keeping with historical styles. Peat imbues the spirit with regional notes of wood smoke and smouldering charcoal, layered over The GlenDronach’s archetypal fruitiness.
On the nose you can enjoy wild strawberries dusted with cinnamon sugar and crisp, tart cranberry juice, flooded with waves of Highland smoke, sweetening to a red berry compote, with rich, stewed barley and lingering, smouldering charcoal on the palate.
GlenDronach Whisky Maker, Rachel Barrie
Dark amber with a ruby heart.
Wild strawberries dusted with cinnamon sugar, filled with sweet wood smoke. A warming hint of black pepper and a sprig of mint appear in the back note.
Crisp, tart cranberry juice, flooded with waves of Highland smoke, sweetens to red berry compote, with rich, stewed barley and lingering, smouldering charcoal.
What I say:
It has been a while since we’ve had a GlenDronach, unusual I know, however this is also the first official GlenDronach we have sampled since it was taken over by new owners Brown-Forman. Rather unusually this isn’t a sherry-bomb as you would expect from most GlenDronach, also it is peated! Constructed from a parcel of Peated Malt spirit by new GlenDronach Whisky Maker Rachel Barrie, this has been finished in Port Casks and bottled without age statement.
Rose Gold (9/20), medium-large tears leave strong medium legs
Toasted marshmallows on an Islay beach bbq, peaty smoke and light jammy fruits, strawberry marshmallow or candyfloss, malty cereal barley, buttery, hints of citric lemon juice and key lime pie
Strawberry and vanilla, strawberries and cream candies, peat, earthy, meaty, malty cereal barley, cherries, charred wood, fruity and ashen, buttery caramel, honey-glazed ham, strawberries dipped in earthy dark chocolate, a touch of coffee grounds too but without the bitterness (the port casks see to that), some black pepper spice
Long, sweet, smoke, more bbq/peaty toasted marshmallows
As you would expect there is a mixture of some strong flavours here including sweet jammy red fruits and spiced and earthy peat, a little fatty and buttery in places but an acidity of lemon juice and key lime pie cuts through it. This doesn’t have too many indications of extensive maturation, however Peaty whisky is often best young when it still has some liveliness and vigour, the peat and port influences appear to have been brought into balance and no more. Will traditional ‘Dronach fans like it – I guess you could flip a coin on that – I suspect this’ll be a marmite whisky for many. Fans of sweet & peat, like other port matured peaty expressions, will love this.
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