Glendronach was founded in 1826 by James Allardes near Huntly in Aberdeenshire. The distillery was purchased by Teachers and Sons Ltd in 1960 who increased the number of stills from two to six. The distillery was closed from 1996 and mothballed until it reopened in 2001 owned by Allied Distillers Limited. In 2016 the distillery, along with BenRiach and Glenglassaugh was purchased by Brown-Forman Corporation. Glendronach currently produces a large proportion of ex-sherry matured whisky and has a house style which is often rich, big and bold.

Distillery Bottlings

Posted 31 July 2018

I’ll admit it – I had to look ‘Hielan’ up. And then I felt a little bit stupid. ‘High or elevated land, applied in Scot., specif. in pl. with the, to the mountainous district of Scotland lying north and west of a line drawn approximately from Dumbarton to Ballater and thence to Nairn’. It seems fairly obvious in hindsight, that of course this is simply a descriptive historical word for a particular part of the Highlands – but then again, in my travels I also found: heeland, hilan, heelon, hielin and highlan. The etymology of language is rarely straight-forward. 

Posted 22 May 2019

Our sense of taste is both uniquely personal, and unlike any other of our four senses – we’re born with established likes and dislikes. Evolutionary science suggests that a ‘sweet tooth’ is partly hereditary – a holdover from when human survival depended the quality of our food coupled with the mental challenges required to acquire said food. As early humans we thrived by combining a diet rich with protein and plant nutrients, but also importantly sugars – for energy. 

Posted 19 February 2019

All of the whisky websites that I frequent have several things in common – they’re succinct, interesting, well-written and, in terms of reviewing – astute. But, they also demonstrate a key facet of being a sound whisky writer – the ability to understand expressions within the context of the wider market. It’s no easy thing after tasting countless truly exquisite whiskies to be able to reset the palate and expectations back down to earth. Reviewing entry-level and commonly accessible bottlings fairly is a fine art - and many budding enthusiast writers stand all too often on the shoulders of giants, failing to properly appreciate the composition of things deemed more ‘ordinary’.

Posted 23 May 2018

The Glendronach visitor experience is rather the strange one – on the one hand the centre has a welcoming feel of modernity meeting tradition, on the other, it seems trapped by its own popularity and the legacy of Billy Walker and the Benriach Distillery Company. Tours commence with the obligatory introductory video – I don’t mind these nearly as much as some people – they set the scene, they set the mood – and many visitors won’t have the basic fundamental knowledge that these videos quickly and succinctly provide. Glendronach’s video however is desperately in need of an update – as well as providing information now several years out of date, it also contains a 2 minute section presenting viewers with the official tasting notes for all of its core expressions – one after the other. Sleep never felt closer.

Posted 30 June 2017

Glendronach and sherry seems almost synonymous nowadays. The use of Ex-sherry cask for either full-term maturation or for finishing have become plat du jour (the current logo even includes the phrasing “The Sherry Cask Connoisseurs”) and reinforce a distillery style that is oft-times rich, big and bold.

Posted 21 January 2019

Single cask whisky is by its very nature idiosyncratic. Not all wood is identical – even when sourced from the same location and holding the same precursor liquid. Density, wood grain, the individualism of coppering, warehouse temperatures and air pressures – all these variables, plus many more are going to result in a mature spirit character that varies greater between casks. And, I guess, that’s the nub of why single cask releases are popular – whilst in essence you’re choosing which horse to back, the experience offered has inherent appeal because of its uniqueness.

Posted 25 February 2022

As much as I like my whisky presented to me as naturally as possible, I’m far from naïve as to the realities of the world outside of the geek bubble. I’m also not incognisant that my individual tastes and requirements from a whisky are not necessarily indicative of everyone else’s – and particularly not when compared to that of more casual drinkers. When it comes to natural presentations, colour is one of the thorniest of topics to properly dissect. I once derived enjoyment from reading others’ posts on their preferences and justifications for natural colour (which I fully share) – but now find myself disappointed by a growing obliviousness to the realities of the global whisky market and more worryingly, genuinely saddened by the mounting vitriol which is starting to accompany discussions about the colour of whiskies.

Independent Bottlings

Scotch Malt Whisky Society

Posted 05 September 2019

Similarly to distillery 13, Society Glendronach’s are always rooted in ex-bourbon maturation rather than OB sherry. As such, they’re always of interest. This example has spent a decade in a refill ex-bourbon hogshead.

View on SMWS

Posted 05 August 2021

Ex-bourbon Glendronach is a niche within a niche – but for those who enjoy the inherent qualities of the spirit which has considerable weight (which is usually why it pairs well with sherry), it’s always worth seeking out. And SMWS editions don’t tend to hang around all too long because of this.

View on SMWS



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