The GlenDronach distillery just dropped two new whiskies on the market, and though they’re as different as they can be, you’re gonna want to try both.
GlenDronach Cask Strength Batch 8 and GlenDronach Master Vintage 1993 are both rare releases available this month. These two bottles are meant to showcase GlenDronach’s versatility: Cask Strength Batch 8 is a bold, youthful monster dram at 61 percent ABV, showing spices and dark roasty notes of coffee, cherry and pipe tobacco. And in contrast, the 26-plus-year-old 1993 Vintage is a restrained, fruit-forward dram at 48.2 percent ABV, showing more cocoa and nutty character.
Both whiskies are the result of careful blending of Pedro Ximénez and Oloroso sherry casks, though 1993 benefitted from the use of some quarter casks—smaller vessels that increase the surface area of wood that the whisky is exposed to (and thereby increasing the impact of the wood on the overall flavor).
GlenDronach has not-so-quietly become one of the most renowned producers of sherry-casked single malts in all of Scotland. But while the distillery’s distinctive casks are its signature, its secret is the wielder of the pen: master blender Rachel Barrie. Barrie is one of the best minds (and palates) in Scotch whisky today. In the last year, she has received an honorary doctorate from the University of Edinburgh, and has been inducted into the esteemed Scotch society, the Keepers of the Quaich. Barrie is responsible for the daunting-but-successful relaunch of one of the most coveted bottles on the market today: GlenDronach 15 Revival. GlenDronach 15 was discontinued just before Barrie took her current position, and the task fell to her to remake the beloved whisky after three years off the market. The current version is, by all standards, better than ever.
With regards to this year’s final releases, you’d be advised to consider what sort of whisky you prefer: vibrant, loud, and youthful (Batch 8), or practiced, restrained, and refined (Vintage 1993). You’ll be best served going with both, of course, and enjoying the comparison. And with prices set at $95 for Batch 8 and $350 for Vintage 1993, that’s actually an affordable possibility.
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