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.
The Glendronach core range currently consists of 8,12,18 and 21 year old whiskies. The 15 year old ‘Revival’ is currently on a sabbatical due to its superb quality and therefore sell-out appeal. It is due to return in a few years’ time and when it does I strongly suggest you check it out.
Today we’re taking a look at the 21 year old Parliament. The 'Parliament' here is that of rooks rather than politics. Apparently, there's a flock of them hanging around on the distillery grounds. Released in 2011 and aged in two different types of sherry cask - oloroso and Pedro Ximenez the 21 year old sits at the top of the Glendronach core range.
Nose: Sherry dominates with deep dark chocolate, coffee beans, rum drenched raisins and dried currants. It's both a sweet sherry - from the PX one presumes - and an old sherry with tobacco and a high degree of musty damp leaves. Wood presence seems reasonable high and emphasises pepper. Full on sherry goodness, but a touch mono-dimensional. So....a little time left resting in the glass and....right, that's more like it. Sweet and sour happening now with brown sugars and dark fruit preserves. Perhaps a little more spicy - cinnamon coming through. Some sulphur notes? damp earth, gunpowder. Could be, but I still like them. Either way there's more going on now.
Taste: Immediately tannic and coming at you like chilli chocolate. Fruit cake, molasses and liquorice - this is deep strong stuff. Sherried fruits within the cake - high level of sweetness coming across. Polish and leather...almost a meat-like leather. Wood influence is still quite high with cinnamon again.
Finish: Long, very astringent and with a salty tang in the tail.
Almost amazing. Lovely rich, deep and sweet with aromas and nuances I absolutely love. Then again, balance is perhaps not high on today’s menu. I found that my initial nosing and tasting were just fantastic – deep, opulent sherry with almost a confident swagger. But, once my palate had settled into the dram, I struggled to find deeper complexity, and the naturally high level of astringency of the liquid reduced my sense that this was a luxuriant experience and more of a constant sherry-punch in the face. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder though, and there’s more than enough here to enjoy that I can certainly understand why some colleagues rave about this Glendronach.