24 years, 48.7% ABV
For those that don’t know what a GlenDronach Grandeur is, simply put, it’s meant to be the epitome of the ‘best’ and the ‘crème de la crème’ of cask selection. The Master Distiller is given the envious and job of walking around the warehouse and choosing a number of casks that are ripe for becoming the contents of this prestigious bottle. It’s an opportunity to showcase their skills & instincts to create something fantastic and extra-ordinary. The casks chosen must complement one another. And once married together, they must present the drinker with the identity of what an exceedingly special GlenDronach whisky really is. And these bottles command a very high price tag, so the correct selection of casks to be vatted together to create such a decadent product is absolutely paramount.
No pressure there then.
But it hasn’t always worked. Some previous Grandeur batches were not worthy to hold this title. And from speaking to a lot of GlenDronach drinkers, many were put off buying another Grandeur. They thought the quality was sub-par, the experience was muted, and it was a waste of money. Grandeur’s are expensive. Very expensive. And when you shell out a very significant amount of money for a very special and limited bottle of whisky only to discover it’s not what you thought it was, it is a gut-wrenching feeling. I’ve been there and it’s bloody horrible. The furore that comes with a Grandeur release should (really it should), guarantee a stunner of a whisky, leaving you sat down in a chair with a big smile on your face because it was a fantastic experience and worth the money you’d parted with…
Appearance: Deep oiled Oak. Thick and viscous with very slow & waxy legs.
Nose: Waxy furniture polish immediately fills the nostrils that is then accompanied by a leathery character. Old medium-dry sherry, black cherries, raisins, grapes, dates, vanilla, roasted hazelnuts, and soft doughy bread. The nose is fabulous. And again, it’s one of those whiskies that can just sit in the glass and be sniffed for ages. And it deserves this. It smells of age and refinement. Think of an old oak cask of sherried whisky that’s been wrapped in a wax-polished leather coat and left in warehouse soaking up the damp dunnage air.
Palate: Medium sweetness with a tart & liquorice-bitterness. The tartness fades, allowing the oily body to thicken up in the mouth and wrap itself around the tongue and roof. Muted honeyed & sherry sweetness is there and now the spicy/woody character really comes through. It’s like sucking on an old oak stave soaked in fine sherried whisky. The wood influence is strong and gives bags of dryness but doesn’t overpower the sweetness and sherried character.
Finish: Long. The sweetness turns to light bitterness with a very faint cigar smoke-wake. Beautifully oily with waves of ‘all things refined’.
Conclusion: I’d say Grandeur batch #9 is all about getting things back on track, re-instilling confidence and showing us what they do best. For the people who decided things were taking a turn for the worse in the selection of the casks that made up previous Grandeur releases, I would say your faith might be restored. Praaaaise the Lorrrrd.
No doubt this a refined and beautifully crafted whisky. And I could happily keep this one in my “don’t share with others unless I really like them” collection.
Should you buy it? Well, it’s not cheap, but it’s definitely a GlenDronach that made me smile.