Whisky Review – Glendronach Grandeur 25 Year Old batch 008. @Glendronach

Glendronach Grandeur 25 Year Old batch 008

50.3% ABV

Non chill filtered

No added colouring

£375.00 from Whisky Galore at The Green Welly Stop

Nose. 

Intense, old polished oak, plum jam, alcohol drenched Christmas cake. Dark chocolate nibs. A touch of dunnage warehouse. That’s from the first pour. Letting this sit with a cover for a bit. After a little time we have an immense amount of stewed dark fruits, blackberry, plum, dates. All thick and delicious. Spiced up with warming cinnamon and crystallised ginger. Coffee grounds and chocolate are present, with a little floral as backup. It’s immensely complex, warming and promising lots of what’s to come. It’s reminiscent of some very old whisky I tried recently. Tasted blind I would even place this older than 25 years on the nose. 

Palate. 

Gently massive! Arrival is quiet, sweet, old oak, chocolate, coffee and gentle spices initially, then builds up to a crescendo of dark fruit and spices. A chutney of berries and Christmas Spice. All the while being delicate to the palate. The thick oiliness covers everywhere and gives a deep warmth to the experience. Development goes into many territories, the fruit is thick, some dark bitter chocolate, almost an overlooked fruit cake crust, but with plump and luscious red berries bursting in the mouth at the same time. The alcohol strength doesn’t make itself noticed at all. And with prolonged time in the glass and slow sipping the flavours only become richer and deeper with every drop. 

Finish. 

Dusting chocolate, cocoa, mocha in fact, with some Black Forest gateau filling, dark cherries, juicy and ancient at the same time. The finish goes on for ages. Always giving the older dusty warehouse age and the juicy freshness of fruits stewed and bubbling in a pot. The greatest of warming chest hugs from this whisky. It’s absolutely delicious. 

Adding water. 

No. Not doing it. Sorry. It’s perfect as it is. 

Conclusion. 

I may be biased. Glendronach is one of my favourite distilleries, and top of my quality sherried maturation whisky distilleries list. This whisky does them proud. This is one of those whiskies which I wish was available 10 years ago and me being into whisky 10 years ago (which I wasn’t). Why? Because I may have been able to afford it then. If I could afford this I would have it in a heartbeat. It’s the quintessential old age sherried beauty and I adore it completely. I feel extremely lucky to have been able to try this. If you love Glendronach, have some money to one side, treat yourself. If you get offered a dram of this, snap the persons arm off. Otherwise seek this at a whisky show, it’s worth your dram token(s). 

Many thanks to Glendronach for the review sample

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Whisky Review – The Macallan Edition No 2 @The_Macallan 

The Macallan Edition No 2 

48.2% ABV

£76.83 from Master of Malt

Back to a bit of non-aged statement action from The Macallan, but as daunting as it sounds, this has a nicely pepped up alcohol level to 48.2%. This release is a collaboration between master whisky maker Bob Dalgarno and the three brothers behind El Celler de Can Roca (named best restaurant in the world twice by Restuarant magazine). Drawn from a combination of European and American oak. I’m very much looking forward to this. 

Nose. 

Big on the Macallan signature fruitcake richness. First sniff has me taken aback, the strength took me unawares, but then so did the intensity of the aromas. Among the massive juicy sultana rich fruitcake mix is some ginger, orange juice and peel, cinnamon and a hint of white pepper. It’s a rich, dried fruit and Spice intensity, already warming and inviting. 

Palate. 

The palate is just as big. Intense, superb balance of fruit and spice. The arrival is very juicy and rich, with the oranges upfront quickly evolving into raisins, sultanas and plums. Spice add a nice bite in the development, with the cinnamon, crystallised ginger and now a touch of clove coming into the mix, with the fruits becoming more refined with orange oils, honey and maybe a hint of spearmint. The mouthfeel is pleasantly oily and fulfilling. Chocolate comes into the mix late in the development, milk chocolate mixing deliciously with the oranges. 

Finish. 

Chocolate orange hangs around for a medium to long length finish, with a touch of honey sweetness and bite of ginger at the very finale. 

Adding water. 

I really don’t want to add water, but a small drop has been added anyway. The nose seems a little less intense and more spice driven. The palate has also had the intensity toned down, but it’s less spicy, seems more oily on the palate and the chocolate notes come in much sooner and mix in damn beautifully with the amazing fruits. The finish reflects the diluted palate and gentle fades the fruit chocolate mix away. I really like the undiluted experience as a whole, but the diluted palate and finish is something extra!

Conclusion. 

Delicious. This has a lot to offer over the 12 year old double cask, extra levels of complexity and intensity of flavour. I really love this one, it’s absolutely beautiful! Price wise I was dubious, but when you compare it to the Sienna (my favourite of the colours) and think of the extra ABV, this one wins for me. Bottle bought!

Many thanks to the Macallan for the review sample. 

Whisky Review – Benriach 17 year old PX Sherry Finish. @TheBenriach

Benriach 17 year old PX Sherry Finish

46% ABV

Non chill filtered

No added colouring

£63.98 from Whisky Galore at The Green Welly Stop

Nose. 

First sniff from the pour and we have a dark fruit rich, dusty chocolate with some dunnage warehouse essence in the mix. Will let it sit for a while covered. Raisin rich, some Christmas pudding, a hint of marzipan, dark chocolate. Cinnamon and light clove spice. There’s a touch of gingerbread also. A complex nose requiring some exploration time. 

Palate. 

Beautifully fruity and thickly viscous arrival. Starts off with lots of thick dark fruits, plum, raisin, sweet and sticky, with the oiliness of the mouthfeel complimenting this perfectly. In the development we get some Christmas cake, Christmas spices, clove, a little fresh nuttiness, hints of cherry and almond. This is the Christmas dram you should have drank at Christmas. This is gloriously sherried stuff, not quite a Sherry monster but very close, it’s more subtle than that. 

Finish. 

The Christmas clove rich spices and fruit cake continue for a medium to long length finish. A drying nuttiness finishes things off, but also a lovely warming chest hug, which gives this dram an extra feel good factor. 

Adding water. 

A little more rummage warehouse on the nose now, musty wood, rustic. The fruit is toned down in favour of nuts and chocolate. The palate is a little more tart with some citrus orange juice coming in place of the richer fruitcake elements, it’s actually very tasty, but very different. The finish is still chest warming and delightful. Well worth an experimentation with water, but changes things completely! Exciting stuff. 

Conclusion. 

This is Christmas Day whisky without a doubt, but something you can have every day, and it is one of those bottles that I fear would not last. It’s a cuddly Sherry monster, not too boisterous, just right for luxury sipping. With water it changes so much it could be a different dram. Really beautiful and engaging whisky. 

Many thanks to Benriach for the review sample

Whisky Review – Yula II 21 year old (2016) @DLaingWhisky 

Yula II 21 year old (2016) 

52.3% ABV

Non chill filtered

No added colouring

£101.80 from Master of Malt

Nose. 

On first sniff there is a floral smokiness. Heather and salted caramel. Light peat smoke, medicinal in nature, a touch of tcp and germoline. Maritime notes come through later on with salty sea air and some seawater soaked rope. After a few minutes breathing things take a sweeter turn, still very maritime, but now the caramel, honey salted sweetness is coming through nicely integrated with the heather sea air freshness. It’s a lovely clean smelling dram.

Palate. 

First sip is big, brash, a level of astringency, very memorable, but we don’t judge on first sips, although I felt it worth mentioning as it’s big and flavoursome. Arrival is sweet, quite smokier than the nose suggests, some moss and earthiness also very prominent. Salted caramel comes into the development, softly, fulfilling in the mouth as is the oiliness. There are also touches of fresh lemon juice. At the end of the development salt becomes more sea salt, with some iodine and peat notes coming back. This is a palate that has a story, a beginning, a middle and an end, a proper 3 act affair, nice. 

Finish. 

The warming peat and fresh salted caramel continues into the medium to long length finish. With some waxy lemon juice zing and heather honey drizzled toffee. 

Adding water.

I added more than I intended thanks to an overzealous hand. Fingers crossed I haven’t killed it. A lot of lemon on the nose now, lemon bonbon confectionary. The palate is also a lot lighter (too much water – damn), there is still some smokiness, earthy peat and everything is very accessible, but also very toned down. The finish is light, fresh, lemon enriched peat smoke. It’s still very beautiful indeed, but I wouldn’t have watered it down quite so much as this. But it’s still very tasty, and makes me wonder about further water exploration in the future with other drams. 

Conclusion. 

This is a lovely, soft, smokey, confectionary rich adventure of a dram. There’s an awful lot going on. Very well blended from some quality malts immensely enjoyable stuff. It’s not a cheap bottle of whisky, but it is a very enjoyable one. 

Many thanks to Douglas Laing for the review sample