By Richard Thomas
The latest creation of Rachel Barrie, the Master Blender of the BenRiach Group (also known as the Scotch Whisky arm of Brown-Forman) is also the latest installment in Glendronach’s Grandeur series, a 28 Year Old single malt aged in Pedro Ximénez and Oloroso Sherry casks. Since some readers might wonder what Glendronach has to do with BenRiach, a little history is necessary.
Glendronach is a classic example of how the ownership and use of a Scottish distillery can become quite convoluted over time. The distillery was started in 1826 by James Allardes, and was only the second distillery in Scotland to apply for a license. The original distillery was destroyed in a fire, rebuilt in the mid-19th Century, and eventually came into the possession of Charles Grant (of William Grant & Sons) in 1920. The Grants eventually sold it to William Teacher & Sons, and Glendronach malt continues to be part of Teacher’s Scotch Whisky to this day. In another acquisition Glendronach was mothballed, then restarted in 2002, went independent in 2008, and was finally acquired by the BenRiach Group. This was, in turn, bought by Brown-Forman in 2016. Glendronach malt is also known to be part of Ballantine’s.
Grandeur is a special release series from Glendronach, focusing on older whisky. This is the 11th batch, consisting of a 3,181 bottle run, bottled at 48.9% ABV.
The nose on this malt leads with a whiff of smoke, one that is swiftly subsumed by a fruity current of peaches and apricots, boozy raisins, and a pinch of white pepper. The flavor follows in much the same vein, but with a mild vanilla note added in for good measure. I found it smooth, flavorful and personable.
Old Scotch doesn’t come cheap, and this is no exception: officially, Glendronach Grandeur Batch 11 28 Year Old is priced at $800. I’ve seen it listed with retailers for $1,200 and up.