Glendronach 12, 1963, 43%

Generally, what happens with samples that I have been saving for an at least somewhat special occassion, I forget who said samples came from. Normally, that’s a bit shameful but not too much of a deal. However, when the sample is a Glendronach distilled around the time your dad turned ten years old, it’s a bit of a thing…

So, on a side note before we get to more regular stuff that you’d find in reviews on this here blog, if this sample came from you, please let me know. And sorry for forgetting. BvdP, was this you?

Glendronach is a rather popular distillery with whisky geeks. Especially with whisky geeks who are big on the sherry matured highland whiskies. There have been some other cask maturations over the years, with a massive slew of virgin oak releases about a decade or so ago. However, this is from way before that happened.

This bottling is from the days that single malt wasn’t really a thing among most drinkers. Italy was a bit of an exception, for some reason, and a lot of single malt was imported there, to eventually end up in collections and later in auctions. This bottle is one of those whiskies that ended up at and Italian importer, then a collection and then an auction. Just to end up in someone else’s collection.

The major difference is that the last someone actually opened the bottle!

Currently Glendronach is owned by Brown-Forman, of Jack Daniel’s fame. Before that, it was owned by Billy Walker who more or less reinvented the brand and put it back in people’s line of sight. He did the same with BenRiach and later with GlenGlassaugh. After he sold these three brands the same recipe for success was applied to GlenAllachie, included mid-word-capitalization.

I’ve not had the opportunity to taste many Glendronachs from after the sale to Brown-Forman, but if their American portfolio is anything to go by, I would half expect it to start tasting like banana at some point.

Image from Whiskybase

Anyway, this one, is from yonder year. Properly ancient stuff. The ratings on Whiskybase reflect that, and I to expect there to be a bit of an uptick happening because of it being so old. Let’s dive in!

Very timid, with quite a lot of rich vanilla, porridge with barley sugar. There’s a lemony tang in the background to keep it interesting.

A rich palate, with barley, oak and a touch of white pepper. Vanilla, sweet porridge and pound cake. Slightly waxy, and a bit of honey too.

The finish keeps the middle ground between the lemony nose and the sweeter, honeyed palate. Still quite sweet with vanilla and barley.

The richness is typical for the distillery, but it doesn’t taste as ‘old’ as I expected. I didn’t really know what to expect, but a bit of ‘old bottle effect’, some funkiness because of more erratic distillation than is currently the case, such things. That’s not really what is happening here.

Somehow it does have the typical Glendronach richness, but not the depth, the funkiness or any of these things typically associated with very old bottlings of single malt. I find that a bit of a shame, unfortunately. Apart from this actually being very old, it done taste very old.

Quite a likeable dram, though.



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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