GlenDronach 2003-2016, 13yo, 53.9% – OB for The Duchess

For who? The Duchess? Well, yes. It’s a fairly new Dutch brand from a shop called Best of Whiskies and/or Best of Wines. A friend and fellow club member runs the whisky division and has been making a way for himself in the Dutch scene.

This GlenDronach is their second bottling, after a 1991 Ardbeg (!). What Nils (the guy who runs it) also hosted was a fairly epic Springbank tasting with Frank McHardy talking the guests through a bunch of drams. Talking about something legendary! I still regret not being able to attend.

Anyway, Nils was kind enough to give me a sample of his new bottling. I have been a dick about not reviewing it about four months ago. Luckily for you, ‘dear reader’, it’s still available.

This puppy was drawn from a Virgin Oak hogshead, and bottled at cask strength, last May.

The nose is smooth and gentle with (obviously) quite some oak. I get scents of chili peppers and pears. Some ethanol. The curls after shaving a beam of white oak. Some bayleaf and licorice.

The palate is surprisingly sharp and bone dry. Mind, this is not a complaint since I like dry whiskies, and a bit of oomph never hurt anyone either. It’s really demanding and draws your attention when you take a sip. Lots of fresh oak with GlenDronachs heavy spirit backing it up. Something crisp too, some mint maybe. Oak, wood spices, pear, chili and alcohol.

The finish is dry, but not as dry as the palate. Lots of oak and heat from the alcohol. White and red pepper to add to the heat. Quite long and warm.

So, what about this one then? It’s a bit of a two-sided affair. On one hand it’s strong, punchy and dry. I quite like that. I also like the flavors which are not overly similar to the other GlenDronach Virgin Oaks out there. It’s quite different from how I remember our club bottling, for example.

On the other hand, a lot of Virgin Oak GlenDronachs have been released over the last five years or so. That means you lose some originality points there. Having said that, compared to the generally available single casks it’s priced competitively, and it’s something else from the more available sherry casks. Recommended!


GlenDronach 2003-2016, 13yo, Virgin Oak Hogshead 1751, 53.9%, OB for The Duchess. Available for € 69 at Best of Whiskies.

Thanks a million to Nils van Rijn from Best of Whiskies for sharing a sample!


About Sjoerd de Haan-Kramer

I'm very interested in booze, with a focus on whisky. I like to listen to loads of music and play lots of Magic: the Gathering, and board games too. I'm married to Anneke, have two daughters Ot and Cato, a son Moos and a cat called Kikker (which means Frog, in Dutch). I live in Krommenie, The Netherlands.
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1 Response to GlenDronach 2003-2016, 13yo, 53.9% – OB for The Duchess

  1. Troy says:

    Just received a bottle of this a couple weeks ago. Looking forward to trying the style. I’m in the US and was just browsing online for a particular Clynelish, which BOW happened to have in stock. I ordered this with the Clynelishes on a whim…thanks for reviewing. Nils couldn’t have been easier to work with. Recommend shop!

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