GlenDronach original 12 year old single malt scotch whisky provides a perfect introduction to the sherried malt category of whisky for novices to the category.
Classification Highland single malt scotch whisky
Cask pedro ximenez and oloroso sherry
Still Type copper pot
Aged At least 12 years
Awards Gold, 2021 International Wine & Spirits Competition; Gold, 2019 International Wine & Spirits Competition; Gold, 2018 San Francisco World Spirits Competition
This is a terrific introduction to sherried whisky for beginners: rich, sweet, flavorful, and fairly straightforward.
It’s non-chill filtered, which many experts argue helps retain maximum flavor, and has no color added.
For an entry-level whisky, it’s a bit pricey.
Color: Bright coppery orange, which comes from the casks in which it’s aged, as there’s no artificial coloring added.
Nose: Classic sherry notes of raisin and orange, along with vanilla and light floral aromas
Palate: Ripe, rounded notes of plums and candied orange peel, accompanied by rich vanilla and light cocoa
Finish: Malt, oak, chocolate, roasted almonds, black pepper. A soft, dry finish with a light spicy kick that lingers for a good long while.
The GlenDronach is slowly gaining a higher profile in the whisky world, due in large part to the brand’s acquisition by spirits giant Brown-Forman, as well as the untiring efforts of master blender Rachel Barrie to bring it to a larger audience. And that’s a good thing: The GlenDronach is one of the better sherried malts in Scotland, and its 12-year-old expression is a nifty entrée to the world of sherried whisky.
The GlenDronach’s stock in trade is sherry-cask aging, and it’s what it does exceedingly well, though some have complained that things have gone downhill since its hookup with Brown-Forman. Whether or not that’s the case, this entry-level expression still delivers, with lots of sweetness and just enough malt and oaky spice to keep it from getting cloying. At more than $60 a bottle, it’s a little pricey for mixing, but it’s really meant for sipping. It does, however, pair quite nicely with a spicy ginger ale.
Original 12 is a great sherried malt for beginners who want to find out what the category is all about. It’s not exactly full of surprises, but it does everything it’s supposed to do, and does it well.
Whisky has been made at GlenDronach since 1826, but for six years at the turn of the 21st century, then-owner Allied Distillers, faced with an industry-wide downturn in scotch whisky, shut down GlenDronach. The mothballing lasted from 1996 until 2002, by which time things were looking up for scotch and brown spirits in general.
The Bottom Line
This bottle is an excellent introduction to sherried malts for novices, and a straightforward and solid choice for veterans.