As the "Peated Port Wood" shuts the door behind it and leaves the room, another door opens, and in comes its Cousin.
Enter “Port Wood” – weighing in at 46% and aged 10 years. This new bottle has initially been matured in Oloroso & Pedro Ximénez sherry casks before being transferred into a Port Pipe. And Port Pipes can be pretty big, at around 550-650 litres capacity.
I didn’t really do cartwheels over the previous peated version of this, and still have a fair bit left in the bottle that I bought. However, I try not to make assumptions on new releases, and only comment if I’ve actually tried them. So now I have, here are my thoughts…
Appearance: Rosé wine with a pink tinge. Very oily legs.
Nose: Fruity from the off with an unmistakable scent of sweet Rosé and dry Oloroso sherry on the forefront. A slight savoury element starts to emerge with some pastry before the Rosé wine reappears. Sat in the glass a little longer, deeper nosing uncovers a nutty light-sherry element and some very faint whiffs of a malted drink – like Horlicks.
Palate: Sweetness moves to a treacle bitter-bite with a tart twang’ on the tongue. The sweet note returns with some oil, pastry, and tart berries. Then woody dryness and light white pepper steps in. Blind tasting this, I wouldn’t immediately jump to a Port cask matured whisky, but I suppose it is a Port finish after all.
Finish: Medium-long. It transitions from sweet and oily, to savoury, then tart and back to a drying sweetness. There’s a mild dried grassy element with a toasted woodiness. On the final exhale a delicate tobacco note appears.
Conclusion: In a nutshell – I found this a lot more enjoyable than the Peated Port Wood. Obviously, it’s another clear step away from the usual thick and heavy sherry-matured whisky that GlenDronach is famed for, and this one is quite different. However, the difference in this instance makes it interesting in a positive way, and complimentary to the sherry-cask matured whiskies in the GD stable. The lighter notes allow the distillery’s character and spirit come forward more so than normal.
It’s also worth mentioning that this isn’t a sweet & sticky Port cask whisky (like the Kavalan Port Solist for example) This is drier, lighter, fruitier, and less-weighty. It is a very different beast altogether. If you liked some of the previous wood finishes in the range, you’ll like this as it falls into that alternative GlenDronach category quite nicely.
Unfortunately, most of the sample had leaked in the post as the cap wasn’t tight(!), so this is all I had to go on and could only do one sit-down tasting.