By Richard Thomas
Newly released in the United States is the no age statement (NAS) version of The GlenDronach Port Wood Single Malt, de facto replacing their previous 10 Year Old expression. Keeping track of the over 100 distilleries in Scotland, each with its own distinct identity, is a nerdy chore, so here is the 411. The GlenDronach is a Highland distillery, founded in 1826 and currently owned by Brown-Forman. The distillery is one of a trio owned by the same American titan that makes Jack Daniel’s and Old Forester, and the whiskies coming out of that group are blended by Dr. Rachel Barrie. Their house style is to age in Oloroso and PX Sherry casks, producing richly fruited whiskies. So, in their Port Wood finished expression, they have doubled down in the fortified wine character of their house style.
Bottled at a stiff 46% ABV, The GlenDronach Port Wood has a light amber coloring, which is pretty dark by Scotch standards. The nose leads with its fruit, and reminds me of a dish of chocolate-covered raisins, dried apricots and dried banana chips, if you were snacking on it in a field of freshly cut dry grass.
The whisky has a rich, honey-thick mouthfeel to compliment it’s honey-sweet base, that base supplemented by a narrow current of dark fruit, and balanced by a similar current of dry woodiness. That latter part rolls over into the finish and initially dominates it, turning spicy, before fading down into sweet tobacco leaf.
This is a fairly bold, quite full-bodied whisky, and it’s aging in a string of fortified wine casks carries it a long way despite its (presumed) youth. Flavorful, a little complex, and not at all subtle, it’s a very approachable and enjoyable pour.
Keeping in mind that Scotch Whisky is generally more expensive than American Whiskey, this item is officially priced at $90 per 750ml bottle.