Bought: CASC, Aberdeen, 28th June 2017
83.5/100 – Whisky Bible 2017
9.5/100 – Whisky Wednesday (video review below)
0/100 – Whiskybase (awaiting votes for my exact bottling)
It would be unfair to call the Glendronach ‘Allardice’ 18yo the poor man’s Macallan 18yo ‘Sherry cask’, so I wont. But I just did. There are certainly several comparisons between the two floating around on the Internet but not recently. Not since the Macallan 18yo shot up to £300. Which leaves the Glendronach 18yo with the accolade ‘probably the best sherry cask 18yo for under £100’. It’s certainly a top contender.
You would think that gathering information about my Glendronach ‘Allardice’ would be easy until you realise that the distillery was closed in 1996 to 2001. If we assume that no whisky was produced in 1996 this means the distillery ran out of 18-year-old casks after 2013. It’s now a well documented fact that Glendronach have kept their core range going long after the age stated on the label such that bottles of Allardice contain 19yo whisky in 2014, 20yo in 2015, etc. My bottle of Allardice 18yo is dated 6th October 2016 so it’s most likely a 21yo. Perhaps reviews for the 21yo ‘Parliament’ would be more appropriate? Except the ‘Parliament’ is 48% and matured in Oloroso & Pedro Ximénez sherry casks where as the ‘Allardice’ is 46% and matured purely in Oloroso casks. They’re two different beasts!
Jim Murray’s score of 83.5/100 in his Whisky Bible dates from 2010, back when the Allardice was a genuine 18yo. Although there are currently no ratings on Whiskybase for my exact bottle the previous release from May 2016 scores 89.44/100 from 11 votes and the following release in April 2017 scores 89/100 from 7 votes. I’m confident that my bottle would be 89/100. And for comparison, the Macallan 18yo ‘Sherry Cask’ 2016 scores 88.79/100 from 59 votes. Perhaps the ‘poor man’ is actually the person who spent the small fortune on the Macallan!
Here’s Whisky Wednesday with their thoughts about the Glendronach ‘Allardice’ 18yo in May 2017, which is recent enough that it could relate to my exact bottle:
Bought: Whisky Galore, 6th March 2015
88.75/100 – Whiskybase (based on 10 member votes)
Having really enjoyed the Glendronach ‘Revival’, which I tasted in 2014, I was browsing on the ‘The Whisky Shop’ website when another Glendronach caught my eye. It was a cask strength, limited release of a 2003 11yo. Unfortunately it had sold out. Damn! But it was £60, so quite expensive. A few days later I got an email from Whisky Galore (also known as ‘The Green Welly Stop’), which mentioned their 50th Anniversary. To celebrate this milestone, they had a special bottling of Glendronach, 2003, 11yo. It was practically identical to the bottle on ‘The Whisky Shop’ with a similar limited release (649 bottles) and cask strength. But it was under £50 and came with a commemorative engraved Glencairn glass! A bargain I couldn’t resist.
Scoring 88.75/100 on Whiskybase is a fantastic score, especially when you consider that the legendary 15yo ‘Revival’ scores a point less. But saying that the standard 12yo ‘Matured in Sherry Casks’ scores a healthy 88.34/100. Looking at the whole Glendronach range from the distillery on Whiskybase clearly shows that scoring around 90/100 is very typical. The distillery clearly has its fans and my Whisky Galore example is a good one.
Bought: Whiskysite, Holland, 16th February 2015
88.5/100 – Whisky Bible 2015
90/100 – Ralfy – His review on You Tube here (April 2011)
I’d heard good things about the Glendronach ‘Revival’ so I was pleased to have a chance to sample it last year. I was in an excellent whisky bar back home in Scotland where I did a taste comparison between:
- Glendronach ‘Revival’ 15yo – best of the night by far!
- Glen Grant 10yo – a bit rough and young
- Highland Park G&M 2005 Cask Strength – like the Glen Grant
- Macallan Speymalt G&M 2005 – mellow, youthful and OK
(G&M = Gordon & MacPhail)
You might think that putting a 15yo up against whiskies 10yo or less was a bit unfair until you consider that the Whisky Bible scores the Glen Grant 10yo 96/100, 7.5 points ahead of the Glendronach. As a big fan of Highland Park and Macallan, I was disappointed with those two but, in isolation I’m sure they would have tasted OK. Unfortunately, the Glendronach was so good, everything thereafter had a lot to prove.
The Whisky Bible has only this to say about the ‘Revival’ – “unambiguously Scottish. A fantastically malty dram.” And 88.5/100 puts it in the category of “very good to excellent whisky definitely worth buying”. I’d agree with that!
Bought – Online Whisky Auction, 31st October 2013
86.5/100 – Whisky Bible 2013
89/100 – Ralfy, of www.ralfy.com
Review: – Ralfy – Glendronach 12yo Original – YouTube
Bought – Online Whisky Auction, 31st October 2013
One of the things about buying whisky at auction is that you can’t always be sure what you’re getting. I mean this in two senses, firstly that you rarely get all the details about the bottle’s age and origin, and secondly you might be getting a Wolfburn in Sheep Dip’s clothing. That is to say, you can’t be 100% certain that the whisky inside the bottle matches the label on the outside. Nevertheless, I thought if I bought wisely, and cheaply, an auction would be good fun.
I bought this miniature along with another 12yo Glendronach, the ‘Original’ version. Plenty of reviews exist for the Original but I struggled to find anything about this ‘matured in sherry casks’ edition. But I did find a ‘sold out’ 75cl bottle on Master of Malt’s website where they used to sell it for £148.50. Unfortunately there were no reviews but its description was “the 12yo expression of Glendronach is increasingly well-regarded by experts and like its 15yo older brother, this is a complex and involving whisky.” Unfortunately it’s also evaporating so I better drink it soon before it goes completely!