Review: GlenDronach 21

GlenDronach, one of the distilleries with a special place in my whisky loving heart. This is the brand that made me fall in love with sherried whiskies. When I started on my whisky journey, I was very much a “peathead” and despite the immense popularity of ex-sherry whiskies, they never truly struck a chord with me. Until I started exploring the GlenDronach range, where each different age-stated whisky is a marvel of its own. Today’s GlenDronach 21 “Parliament” still stands out in a crowd though.

The occasion for which I’m writing this review is that I’ve been invited to a GlenDronach dinner experience tomorrow night in Amsterdam. And as hard as it might be to beat this 21-year-old expression, a little birdy told me we’ll most likely be tasting the 27-year-old “Grandeur” tomorrow night. So, we’ll have to wait and see whether the “Parliament” will still be my favourite GlenDronach after this weekend. But one of the great things about this 21-year-old expression is that we have it on the shelves at Café Zilt! Which means you can try it for yourself anytime you’d like!

This review will be posted on my own blog and on the blog from Café Zilt, but aside from that cooperation I get no compensation for my blogs and my reviews will always remain independent and unbiased.

Tasting Notes: GlenDronach 21 “Parliament”

ABV: 48% (96 proof)

Age: 21 years old

Distillery: The GlenDronach Distillery

Category: Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky

Chill-Filtered: No

Natural Colour: Yes

A hefty concoction of marmelades welcomes you on the nose. There’s notes of cherries, figs, dates, apples, and raisins paired with a sense of sticky sweetness that reminds me of marmalade. But besides the fruity notes there’s plenty of dark & herbal notes as well, which balances the nose of this dram out wonderfully. Amongst other things, I’m finding cinnamon, cacao, espresso, old leather and just a hint of burnt caramel. A drop of water reveals a more herbal character of this dram, with both nutmeg and cloves clearly present.

If I we’re to describe the palate of this dram in one sentence, it would be: “Haribo cherries stored in an old cigar box”.  This might seem like an odd tasting note, but it’s the first thing that popped in my head when I took a sip of this 21-year-old Glendronach. There’s a thick and lovely cloying mouthfeel to this dram, and the hints of wood and tobacco leaves pair gorgeously with notes of candied dark fruits. Besides cherries there’s once again figs and raisins, but also a very clear apple-molasses note. Surprisingly enough I’m also finding some citrus notes (think kumquats) and if you’ve ever chewed on liquorice root, you’ll find a similar sensation on the palate of the “Parliament”.  Water reveals a yellow grape note I did not find before.

The finish is long and above all that liquorice root note that I found on the palate seems to excel here. The fruity elements turn rather dry here, with dried apple slices being the most noteworthy tasting note. There’s a pleasant tannic presence here, similar to what you might find in a well-made Syrah. Adding a few drops of water will significantly lengthen (and strengthen) the finish of this dram, while taming some of the heftier tannic notes in this dram.

From start to finish, this dram is a joy to experience. It’s both complex and outspoken. Any bottle in this price category is a special occasion dram in my book, but for the ex-sherry fans looking for just that, this GlenDronach 21 “Parliament” is not going to disappoint. This is without a doubt one to savour, so give it some time in the glass before you dive in, sit back, and enjoy the tales it has to tell!

90/100

C

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