We’ll admit it: from time to time we can be a little hyperbolic when it comes to whisky. Great whisky will do that to you. Remember how excited everyone got about the return of Arrested Development? All we’re saying is that sometimes things can be a letdown. And we set our expectations high earlier this summer. In short, we weren’t let down.
Let’s back up for a minute here: Three years ago, GlenDronach announced it would be discontinuing this heavily sherried whisky (the style is conventionally known as a sherry bomb, because, well, it’s like someone detonated a sherry cask in your glass of whisky). It promised a return for the beloved (and affordably priced) bottle then, but when the company was sold to Brown-Forman in 2016, it briefly cast doubts on the future. This year, the promise has been made good upon, to much fanfare.
But bringing a whisky back from the grave is hard work: changes to the distilling and maturation process will usually create massive differences in flavor (just ask any Van Winkle nerd if they prefer Pappy distilled by Stitzel-Weller, or Buffalo Trace).
Having finally tasted a precious sample of this year’s release, the answer is simple: Yes, it holds up.
GlenDronach 15 starts fruity on the nose, with stone fruit notes and hints of berries. There’s a trace of orange blossom and honey in there as well. On the palate, it’s a perfectly balanced single malt. The short stills of the distillery make it an oily, viscous whisky from day one, and the time in sherry casks has left 15 Revival surprisingly dry and nutty, though still fortified with those fruit and candy notes. It’s like a perfect piece of highland cake: sticky toffee pudding, with a light orange glaze. It’s rich and earthy, but with just the right amount of sweetness.
The bottom line: Take our advice, and your $90, and grab a bottle. This is still a value, still a great sherry bomb, and still just as good as we remembered.