Glendronach is a true Single Malt by definition, it has a unique taste profile (loads of geranium earth, dry sherry, cooked wine, soy sauce) that sets it apart. The magical years between 1968 and 1976 brought us many amazing malts, but recent releases were also quite convincing (e.g. the Revival 15 y.o., a dark 1996 for Malts of Scotland or some 1992 Single Casks). Among the last premium OBs, the 1972 casks stood out and the Oloroso Butt 712 won the Malt Maniac Awards 2011/12 by score (91,31 on average) – like a sister cask for Taiwan the year before. Let’s see how ‚Old No. 712‘ ranks in my books:
GlenDronach 39 y.o. OB 1972 – 2011 Oloroso Sherry Butt 712, 466 btl., 49,9%
Nose: The powerful and dry Oloroso makes itself heard right from the start, but there is so much more. We have fruits like plums (many), prunes, figs, cherries, orange zests and even a whiff of tropical fruit basket. We have spices like hot chili and ginger. And we have aromas of geranium earth in the flower pot on the balcony (sorry, that is the smell, maybe even guano sticks in there 🙂 ), unlit Cuban cigar, old leather, flowers, ginger bread, licorice, praline and rising dark dough in the oven.
Palate: Nice! And it is not too sherried or tannic (although clearly in that genre). I love the two worlds here: Dark and bright elements live in peaceful coexistence. Additional aromas are Spanish ham, mahogany wood, roses and old weathered oak.
Finish: It also finishes strong with an intensity that reminds me of older Japanese Sherry Malts – with their ups and downs.
Comment: I like this version a lot, but it is not my favourite Dronach – which probably would be the 1970 Signatory 20 y.o. at cask strength (there were three versions of this).
A note on the side: Awards are always won by very intense malts with upfront power. This is a result of the sheer number of malts to be tasted, the lack of time to deal with one single dram for a long time or even an evening and the positioning in flights in general. Sometimes less obtrusive but very complex and fragile drams are overseen and somehow missed. This also happens at fairs and tastings frequently. If people dealt with only one, two or maybe three malts a night (from very identical categories in head-tohead-mode to cancel out positioning-effects) I bet the results were a bit different. Nevertheless, this is an amazing whisky and a winner for sure.