Chivas Regal Extra Review


“A Blend With a Mission”

Whisky Review # 678

Country: Scotland
Brand: Chivas Regal Extra
Type: Blended Whisky
Age: NAS
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 40%
Maturation: A mix of Refill Bourbon- and Oloroso casks.
Chill Filtration: Yes  
Price Range: On average US$ 40 (January 2018)
Buying Advice:😀 Good Price/Quality Ratio. Very mainstream though!

Colour: Light Amber (Artificially Coloured)

Nose: My first impressions are Fresh Wood, Grain Alcohol and Vanilla. The Extra is a blend of Grain Whiskies (Around 70%) and Single Malts (Around 30%). A substantial part of the Single Malt content matured in Ex-Sherry casks. I also think some first fill Ex-Bourbon casks were used to compensate for some of the very young whiskies that are part of this Blend. The Sherry casks are noticeable via rather discrete notes of Dried Fruit (Raisin, Apricot), Dairy and Chocolate. I also find Cereals, Buttered Toast, Brown Sugar, Caramel, Banana, Orange Peel, Apple, Honey-Melon, Pepper, Cinnamon and a few Herbs. On the Nose, the Extra is Sweet, Thin and slightly Boring. No Off-Notes though.  

Palate: Quite Thin and Mainly Sweet with a few Bitter Oak notes. I find Toasted Cereals, Brown Sugar, Vanilla, Caramel, Toffee, Marzipan, Dried Fruit, Nuts, Apple, Banana, Grain Alcohol, Refill Oak, Dried Herbs, Pepper, Cinnamon, Ginger and Milk Chocolate.    

Finish: Thin, Middle-Long, Bitter-Sweet and Dry. The Bitterness of the Oak is more noticeable towards the end. I find Grain Alcohol, Refill Oak, Orange Peel, Grapefruit, Caramel, Marzipan, Cereals, Pepper, Cinnamon, Ginger, Chocolate and Nutella.     

Drinking Advice:

The Chivas Regal Extra does not improve with added Water. 

Rating: 78  

Nose: 20 - Taste: 19.5 - Finish: 19 - Overall: 19.5

Image result for chivas regal extra

General Remarks:

The Chivas Regal Extra was launched in 2015, at first as Travel Retail only. In the meantime it is widely available around the world. Price wise it is positioned between the 12 and the 18 Years. Taste wise it's better than the 12 Years in my opinion. The NAS Spirit is compensated with more Sherry casks and some Fresh Wood. The resulting Blend with Strathisla and Aberlour as the most important Single Malts in the mix is a bit boring and extremely Middle of the Road. At the same time it's inoffensive, without off-notes and reasonably priced. Perfect for beginning Whisky drinkers. A Party Whisky!   

Drinking Experience Neat: Okay

Drinking Experience on the Rocks: Good 

Conclusion: It's interesting to see how a better quality Wood and the addition of extra Sherry casks can enhance the quality of NAS Spirit. In fact, the Extra is more pleasant than the regular Chivas Regal 12 Years. It's also more expensive but in this case I think both producers and consumers will benefit from this new twist to an old story. The Price/Quality ratio is quite reasonable. The new Chivas Regal Extra is not interesting enough as a sipping Whisky as the Grain Alcohol keeps calling the shots. But it should do well as a Party Whisky and it might inspire a lot of beginning Whisky fans to have a closer look at the wonderful world of Whisky! A Blend with a mission!

Jan van den Ende                                                                 January 18, 2018

Strathisla the Heart of Chivas

BenRiach 20 Years Review


“The Bomb That Didn’t Explode” 

Whisky Review # 677

Country: Scotland
Region: Speyside
Brand: BenRiach
Type: Single Malt Whisky
Age: 20 Years (Blue Label - Bottled in 2011)
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 43%
Maturation: Probably Bourbons casks with a few Sherry casks in the mix.    
Chill Filtration: No      
Price Range: On average US$ 100 (January 2018). 
Buying Advice: 😐 Neutral. Good Price/Quality ratio. Very easy-going!  

Colour: Golden Amber (Natural Colour)

Nose: Quite Light actually with a thin veil of Peat/Smoke in the background. If I am not mistaken there is some Sherry influence here as well. I even get a tiny bit of Sulphur but nothing to worry about. The Nose is mainly Sweet, Malty and Fruity. I find Sweet Barley, Buttered Toast, Toffee, Vanilla, Dried Fruit like Raisins and Plums, Nuts, Grass, Straw, Bounty Bars, White Wine, Citrus, Charred Oak, Pineapple, Nectarine, Peach Jam, Dusty Road, Wet Sand, Chocolate, Cinnamon, light Pepper and hints of Leather and Tobacco. The Alcohol is reasonably well-integrated. The Nose is pleasant and balanced but misses a bit of a kick.

Palate: The Delivery is quite Thin. An ABV of 46% would have been adequate. On the Palate, this 20 Years is mainly Bitter-Sweet but a few Sour notes are to be noted as well. I find Creamy Malt, Toffee, Caramel, Vanilla, Dried Fruit, Nuts, Pineapple, Orange, Apple, Honey, White Chocolate, Grass, Pepper, Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Menthol, Dried Herbs and hints of Tobacco, Leather and Peat/Smoke.

  Image result for ben riach 20 years
The "Old" Bourbon 20 Years 

Finish: Middle-Long, Bitter Sweet and slightly Herbal. Clear notes of Vanilla, Toffee and Milk Chocolate. I also find Sweet Barley, Caramel, Bounty Bars, Nuts, Dried Fruit like Raisins and Sultanas, Orange, Grapefruit, Apple, Honey-Melon, Lemon, Spices like Pepper, Ginger and Nutmeg, Charred Oak, Menthol and very faint Peat and Ashes. A bit of Cured Ham after a while.    

Drinking Advice:

The 20 Years does not benefit from added Water. It becomes more like a Barley Juice. Better sip it neat.    

Rating: 85       

Nose: 21.5 - Taste: 21 - Finish: 21 - Overall: 21.5

The "New" Sherried 20 Years

General Remarks:

🏣   The Distillery and Today's Whisky:

The BenRiach distillery was founded in 1897 by John Duff & Co and is located in Longmorn, Elgin (Morayshire). It changed hands a couple of times in its history but in April 2016 it was bought by Brown Forman. BenRiach produced more or less 2,3 million litres in 2017. The core range includes a/o the NAS Heart of Speyside, the 10, 16, 20, 25 and 35 years. The peated varieties include the Birnie Moss, the Curiositas 10, the Septendecim 17 and the Authenticus 25. I have not yet been able to visit this Distillery. We passed by in 2014 but it was closed for maintenance at the time. BenRiach Spirit is also used in Blends like Chivas Regal, 100 Pipers and Queen Anne.

Quite some different batches of the 20 Years have been released since its launch in 2004. The miniature I'm tasting today was bottled in 2011 and has a Blue and White Label (See picture on top). This specific batch is said to contain around 10% peated Whisky as well as a considerable amount of Spirit that matured longer than 20 Years. Other batches have different levels of peat and maturation time. Most of the early batches mainly matured in Bourbon casks but in 2016 a Sherried 20 Years was released. See picture above (Dark Label). As far as I know the latter has been discontinued in the meantime. BenRiach is one of those many distilleries that do not shy away from introducing loads of different expressions and special casks.

Related image

🍷  The Spirit 

The distillery operates two pairs of Stills with reasonably straightforward Lyne arms that produce a Medium-Bodied, Sweet, Malty, Spicy and Fruity Spirit. The Water is sourced from the Burnside Spring.


🌲  The Wood:

The spirit for this 20 Years most probably matured in First Fill Ex-Bourbon casks.   I detect some Sherry influence as well. A few casks? A Finish? I don't have this information available.

Drinking Experience: Good. Not very exciting though!

Conclusion: The BenRiach 20 Years is a very accessible Single Malt, both in terms of Price as well as Aromas and Flavours. Easy-going and mainstream. It should have been bottled at at least 46% of course but that would make it more expensive. A well-made Single Malt at a reasonable price. What more could you possibly want. Well, I for one was waiting during the whole Tasting and Nosing session for something to happen. Something that would make me smile, cringe, cry, anything...But no, nothing happened. I think you get the picture. Nice Malt but without excitement and Wow factor. The Spice Girls without the Spice!

Jan van den Ende                                                                 January 15, 2018

Laphroaig An Cuan Mor Review


“Surprisingly Different”

Whisky Review # 676

Country: Scotland
Region: Islay
Brand: Laphroaig An Cuan Mor
Type: Single Malt Whisky
Age: NAS (Said To Be Around 10 Years)
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 48%
Maturation: Bourbon Casks with Sherry Cask Finish     
Chill Filtration: No       
Price Range: On average around US$ 110 (January 2018). 
Buying Advice: Difficult. It's too expensive given its obvious youth. And it's not my favourite Laphroaig flavour-wise! But it's a well-made Single Malt and a different type of Laphroaig so if you like the Aroma/Flavour profile give it a try!

Colour: Amber with shades of Orange (Artificially Coloured)

Nose: Pleasant although the Alcohol indicates a relatively young Spirit. The New Wood is quite noticeable and it has been polished with Furniture Wax or so it seems at least. The Earthy Peat and BBQ Smoke are there but they certainly do not overpower the other Aromas. This is not at all your typical Islay Peat-Smoke bomb. Around 25 ppm I would guess. On the Nose, the An Cuan Mor is Sweet, Sour, Salty, Floral and Mineral. I find Toasted Cereals, Salted Caramel, Vanilla, Brown Sugar, Heather-Honey, Wet Grass, Wet Rocks, Brine, Iodine, Soot, Dried Fruit like Apricot and Figs, Nuts, Leather, Lemon, Orange Peel, Pepper, Nutmeg, Cinnamon, Charred Oak and hints of Plastic, Cured Meat, Cedar Wood and Mint. It's not at all what I expected to be honest. It's amazing how much Peat/Smoke was absorbed by the Fresh Wood. As a result, the Nose is quite balanced. I wonder how good this Single Malt would be with some 5-7 years extra in the Ex-Bourbon casks. But that's day-dreaming. Still, I like the Nose!


Palate: A Bit Young and Edgy. I don't find the same balance as on the Nose. It's Bitter-Sweet, slightly Sour, Dry and quite Spicy. I find Toasted Cereals, Brown Sugar, Salted Caramel, Vanilla, Dried Fruit, Seville Oranges, Earthy Peat, BBQ Smoke, Iodine, Band-Aids, Soot, Ashes, Burnt Heather, Charred Oak, Pepper, Nutmeg, Clove, Ginger, Licorice, Cured Meat, Herbal Tea, Strong Black Espresso, Dark Chocolate and used Leather Horse Saddles. The Alcohol is quite noticeable.         

Finish: Middle-Long and Bitter-Sweet. Quite Dry and Tannic towards the end. A very strong Licorice note. I also find Toasted Cereals, slightly Burnt Toast, Dried Fruit, Nuts, Salted Caramel, Farmyard, Earthy Peat, BBQ Smoke, Soot, Ashes, Tar, Iodine, Seville Orange, Grapefruit, Herbal Tea, Dark Chocolate, Espresso, Bacon on the BBQ, Alcohol, Charred Oak, Pepper, Clove, Nutmeg, Ginger and used Leather Horse Saddles.             

Drinking Advice:

The An Cuan Mor does not improve with added Water.    

Rating: 85.5       

Nose: 22.5 - Taste: 21 - Finish: 21 - Overall: 21

Image result for laphroaig an cuan mor

General Remarks:

🏣   The Distillery and Today's Whisky:

Laphroaig was founded in 1815 and is located close to Port Ellen on the isle of Islay. It's one of the few distilleries that still operates an own Malting Floor that covers around 20% of their needs. It currently produces around 3.3 million litres   of Spirit on an annual basis of which 70% is destined for Single Malts. The rest is used a.o. in the well-known Teachers Blend. Actually, the core range includes the NAS Select, the 10 Years, the Quarter Cask, the Lore, the Triple Wood and the 25 Years. Laphroaig is one of my favourite distilleries to visit. Great Tours, great people and the smell of that peated smoke is unforgettable. All the pictures in this post were taken by my brother in law Jan Bronkhorst during our visits to Laphroaig in 2014 and 2017.

The An Cuan Mor (Gaelic for "Big Ocean") is a reference to Laphroaig's location. It was launched in 2013, in principal as a Travel Retail Bottling only. But you can find it on the Internet as well in the meantime at selected shops.

🍷  The Spirit:

The distillery operates three Wash Stills and four Spirit Stills all with ascending Lyne arms. They produce a full-bodied Smoky, Briny and Medicinal spirit. The Water is sourced from the Kilbride dam.


🌲  The Wood:

The Spirit for this Single Malt matured for around 8 years in Fresh American White Oak Bourbon barrels (Maker's Mark) before being finished for around 2 more years in Fresh European Oak, that probably was seasoned with Sherry.

Drinking Experience: Very Interesting. Different! Good Nose. 

Conclusion: A very interesting Nosing and Tasting session. Quite unusual Islay Malt. You know it's a young Whisky but it's extremely interesting to note to what extend the Fresh Wood is able to absorb lots of the Peat and Smoke so typical for a young Islay. A pity it does not absorb the Alcohol as well! As a result, the An Cuan Mor is very balanced on the Nose for a young Islay Single Malt. I can't say the same about Palate and Finish I'm afraid. There the Youth becomes more clear and gives a Nervous, Edgy feeling to the Spirit. So while I think it's a well-made Single Malt and an interesting Maturation experiment, I don't count the An Cuan Mor among my favourite Laphroaigs. Did I forget to say it's too expensive given its Youth? Well, it is!

Jan van den Ende                                                                 January 11, 2018

Springbank Distillery Visitors 2017 Review - Kilkerran Distillery Visitors 2017 Review - Kilkerran 12 Years Review


“Springbank/Glengyle Special”

Introduction:

Most of you know that I mainly use samples and miniatures when preparing my Reviews. I usually buy these in Holland and sometimes in Germany or the UK. Sometimes I receive samples from friends or readers or independent bottlers. In only two cases I received a few samples directly from distilleries. When planning my reviews for the coming months I always try to give attention to all Scottish Whisky regions as well as other Whisky/Whiskey/Bourbon producing regions all over the world with special attention to the USA, Ireland and Japan. And last but not least the blends. At the request of many readers I give preference to more recent expressions. As a result, my backlog of older samples has increased quite a bit. To do justice to those samples I will review them in the format of Specials. These specials will deal with a specific region like today or with specific bottlers, countries or distilleries. The reviews in these Specials will concentrate on the Whisky and won't go into details about distilleries, maturation etc. I do hope you will like these Specials just as much as my regular reviews and I look forward to your reactions and suggestions. In today's special I will have a look at 3 Single Malts from Campbeltown, 1 from Springbank and 2 from Glengyle (Kilkerran). Enjoy!
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Whisky Review # 673

Country: Scotland
Region: Campbeltown
Brand: Springbank Private Bottling for Distillery Visitors 2017
Type: Single Malt Whisky
Age: NAS
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 46% 
Maturation:Probably a mix of refill Bourbon and refill Sherry casks.  
Chill Filtration: No    
Buying Advice: Not Applicable.  

Colour: Light Golden (Natural Colour)

Nose: Medium Light and relatively Young. Some Earthy Peat and Dirty Sherry are my first impressions. Quite Salty as well. I find Toasted Barley, Buttered Toast, Salted Caramel, Brown Sugar, Vanilla, Straw mixed with Cow Manure, Diesel, Candle Wax, Dried Fruit like Plums, Heather-Honey, Nuts and Nut Shells, Orange Peel, Lemon, Green Apples, Toasted Refill Oak, Dusty Road and hints of Polished Leather and Bounty Bars. The Alcohol stings a little. The Nose is quite Light for a Springbank but it retains some of the "Dirty" Distillery characteristics.       


Palate: Slightly Thin despite the good ABV. Bitter Sweet with a few Sour notes as well. I find Malted Cereals, Salted Caramel, Vanilla, Brown Sugar, the Straw and Cow Manure mix from the Nose, Orange Peel, Lemon, Green Apples, Dark Chocolate, Factory Smoke, Earthy Peat, Dusty Road, Dried Fruit and Nuts mix, Toasted Oak, Pepper, Clove, Cinnamon, Alcohol and a hint of Coconut. 

Finish: Medium Long, Bitter Sweet, quite Dry and slightly Sour towards the end with lots of Dirty Notes like Factory Smoke, Diesel, Ashes, Soot and Tar. I also detect Earthy Peat, Toasted Cereals, Charred Oak, Salted Caramel, Candle Wax, Brown Sugar, Vanilla, Apple, Pear, Nuts and Nut Shells, Dark Chocolate, Dusty Road, Malt, Dried Herbs, Menthol, Alcohol, Bitter Oranges and Dirty Sherry.   

Rating: 84    

Nose: 21.5 - Taste: 21 - Finish: 20.5 - Overall: 21    

Conclusion:

This Young Springbank is a private Distillery bottling, released on an annual basis for the many visitors that come to Springbank. We got a free miniature at the end of our May 2017 Distillery Tour. Despite its Youth and the Alcohol it gives you a good idea of some of the "Dirty" Distillery notes that are so familiar and loved by Springbank fans. It's also quite consistent from Nose to Finish. I can certainly recommend a visit to Springbank. It's like going back in time at least a hundred years and you really get a feel how Whisky was made in the old days!


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Whisky Review # 674

Country: Scotland
Region: Campbeltown
Brand: Kilkerran Private Bottling for Distillery Visitors 2017
Distilled by: Glengyle Distillery
Type: Single Malt Whisky
Age: NAS
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 46%
Maturation: Bourbon casks, probably (some) First Fill 
Chill Filtration: No  
Buying Advice: Not Applicable.

Colour: White Wine (Natural Colour)

Nose: Young and Light. There are New Make Spirit or Fruit Liqueur aspects. The Alcohol is quite noticeable. It's Fresh and Fruity with Malted Cereals, Buttered Toast, Vanilla, Caramel, Light Smoke and Soot, Earth, Fresh Oak, Grapefruit, Lemon, Green Apple, Pear, Pineapple, Grass, Green Vegetables, Fresh Herbs, light Pepper, Cashew Nuts and hints of Ginger and Olive Oil. Sweet and Sour Aromas are fighting it out. It's not at all boring but also not very well-balanced. There's an Unfinished feel to it.


Palate: Young, Raw and Spicy. Lightly peated New Make Spirit. I find Malted Cereals, Vanilla, light Smoke, Peat and Soot, Nut Shells, Alcohol, Green Apple, Pear, Lemon, Grapefruit, Dusty Road, Grass, Fresh Oak, Pepper, Ginger and Nutmeg.     

Finish: Short, Edgy, Spicy and Sharp. The Alcohol is very present at this stage. I find Malted Cereals, Vanilla, Green Apple, Pear, Dairy, Lemon, Grapefruit, New Oak, very light Smoke, Peat, Soot and Tar, Grass, Pepper, Ginger and Herbs.

Rating: 79    

Nose: 20.5 - Taste: 19.5 - Finish: 19 - Overall: 20    

Conclusion:

This Young Kilkerran is a private Distillery bottling, released on an annual basis for the many visitors that come to Glengyle. We got a free miniature at the end of our May 2017 Distillery Tour. I can't say I like it a lot. Unlike the Springbank above, this Glengyle does not really give us an idea how a well matured Single Malt of this Distillery would taste. It's basically a lightly Peated New Make Spirit. The Spirit is Fruity (Apple, Pear) and presents lot of Green elements as well. It's certainly not overly Sweet and there's a Nutty and Herbal feel to it. It certainly needs more maturation time and I'm really looking forward to taste the 12 Years now to see how the Spirit develops over time.


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Whisky Review # 675

Country: Scotland
Region: Campbeltown
Brand: Kilkerran
Distilled by: Glengyle Distillery
Type: Single Malt Whisky
Age: 12 Years
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 46%
Maturation: A mix of Bourbon (70%) - and Sherry casks (30%)
Chill Filtration: No
Price Range: US$ 50-60 (January 2018)    
Buying Advice: 😕 Good Price/Quality ratio. Not quite my style though.  

Colour: Golden Straw (Natural Colour)

Nose: The 12 Years still carries some of the Grassy and Vegetable Aromas that I found in the Private Bottling and I believe there's some Fresh Oak involved here as well. The main differences are the longer maturation and the use of Ex- Sherry casks. As a result the 12 Years has got much more Balance. The Alcohol is still there but in a far less aggressive way. I find Toasted Barley, slightly Burnt Toast, Vanilla, Salted Caramel, Apple Vinegar, Pear, White Grapes, Lemon, light Earthy Peat, Smoke, Soot, Band-Aid, Diesel and Ashes, Grass, Heather-Honey, Fresh Herbs, Pepper, Cinnamon, Menthol, Licorice and a hint of Wet Newspaper. It's much cleaner on the Nose when compared to the "Dirty" Springbank.


Palate: Bitter-Sweet, Sour and quite Citrusy. I find Toasted Cereals, Vanilla, Salted Caramel, Green Apple, White Grapes, Lemon, Grapefruit, Orange, light Earthy Peat, Smoke, Soot and Ashes, Heather-Honey, Dried Fruit and Nuts, Cinnamon, Pepper, Ginger, Grass, Fresh Herbs and hints of Leather, Wet Rocks and Band-Aid.    

Finish: Shorter than I would have hoped for. Bitter-Sweet with plenty of Sour notes as well. I find Toasted Cereals, Salted Caramel, Vanilla, light Earthy Peat, Smoke, Soot, Ashes and Tar, Green Apple, Lemon, Grapefruit, Salted Nuts, Oak, Pepper, Ginger, Menthol, Licorice, Black Tea, Alcohol and hints of Smoked Kipper, Wet Rocks, Leather and Metal.

Rating: 85.5     

Nose: 22 - Taste: 21 - Finish: 21 - Overall: 21.5    

Conclusion:

The 12 Years is the first core range Single Malt release of the Glengyle distillery since it re-opened in 2004. It's a much cleaner Single Malt when compared to its neighbour Spingbank. Old-Fashioned Vs. Modern if you like. It's well-made and it has an excellent Price/Quality ratio. It's quite Green, Grassy and Citrusy. Not a Single Malt for beginning Whisky drinkers. In general, this first official Kilkerran was well received and the average scores are quite high. I must admit that it's not my favourite Aroma/Flavour profile so my score is a bit lower. I guess I'm old fashioned but I'll stick with Springbank 10 Years for the time being!

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Drinking Advice:

I only Nosed and Tasted these three Single Malts neat. All pictures were taken during our visit to Springbank and Glengyle in May 2017 

Jan van den Ende                                                                 January 8, 2018

GlenDronach Parliament Review


“Licking a PX Cask"

Whisky Review # 672

Country: Scotland
Region: Highlands
Brand: GlenDronach Parliament
Type: Single Malt Whisky
Age: 21 Years
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 48%
Maturation: Sherry casks    
Chill Filtration: No      
Price Range: On average around US$ 140 (January 2018). 
Buying Advice: 😒 Negative. Too Expensive. Go for the 15 or 18 instead! 

Colour: Mahogany (Natural Colour)

Nose: Please make sure to give this GlenDronach sufficient time in the glass  before you start nosing. My first impression is the deep Sweetness as a result of long years of contact between an important part of the Spirit and the PX casks. Sherry Bomb fans will love these full Aromas of Dried Fruit like Raisins, Plums, Sultanas, Apricots, Dates and mixed Nuts (Nutella). I also find Toasted Oat-Meal, slightly Burn Toast with a dollop of Salted Butter, Caramel, Brown Sugar, Rum-soaked Fruitcake, Citrus Peel, Dusty Earth, Maraschino Cherries, Marzipan, Espresso, Milk Chocolate, Sour Apples, Polished Leather Upholstery, Cinnamon, Mint, Clove, Soy Sauce, Toasted Wood and Canned Meat. There are hints of Sulphur, Burnt Rubber and Varnish but they are not strong enough to spoil the party. These Aromas also tend to diminish after half an hour or so. The Alcohol  is noticeable so you need to find your way around it. Solid Sherried Nose but without the Wow factor.


Palate: Bitter-Sweet, slightly Sour, quite Woody and Spicy with Toasted Cereals, Treacle, Brown Sugar, Caramel, the Dried Fruits and Nuts from the Nose, Wax, Cocoa Powder, Orange Peel, Dusty Road, Toasted Oak, Dark Chocolate, Pepper, Ginger, Cinnamon, Cardamom, Clove, Aniseed, Licorice, Menthol, Dried Herbs, Nutmeg, Cassis, Espresso, Overripe Cherries and hints of Polished Leather and Tobacco. There's a Meaty feeling to the Palate but I can't nail it precisely. Tinned Spam perhaps.   

Finish: Short to Medium, Bitter-Sweet, Medium-Dry, quite Woody, slightly Sour and Spicy. You will find the Dried Fruit and Nuts from the Nose, Toasted Cereals, Caramel, Strong Black Tea, Espresso, Dark Chocolate, Orange-Peel, Red Berries, Grapefruit, Toasted Oak, Pepper, Nutmeg, Cardamom, Aniseed, Licorice, Dried Herbs, Menthol and hints of Leather, Tobacco and Ashes. It's all quite Dark and Strong and at times it felt like licking the inside of a refill PX cask. I'm sure there are fans who love that but it's not quite my thing.            

Drinking Advice:

I added a little Water and the Christmas Cake Aromas get stronger. I get some Peach as well. Palate and Finish do not change in a significant way although the Finish gets even more Oak influences. The Alcohol retreats of course and that's a good thing. The Parliament certainly accepts a little Water so I advise you to start with 5 drops for a normal sized dram and increase it 3 drops at a time until you get the right feeling.   

Rating: 83      

Nose: 21.5 - Taste: 20.5 - Finish: 20.5 - Overall: 20.5


General Remarks:

🏣   The Distillery and Today's Whisky:

GlenDronach was founded in 1826 and is located in Forgue (Aberdeenshire) in the Scottish Highlands. In 2008, Pernod Ricard from France sold it to the owners of the Benriach distillery. The current core range includes the Hielan (8 Y), the Original (12 Y), the Parliament (21 Y), the Grandeur (25 Y) and a few peated  Malts with a Wine Finish. Today's production lies at around 1,2 million litres.    

The Parliament was released in 2011 and is named after a colony (Parliament) of rooks that lives close to the distillery for around 200 Years. GlenDronach is known to have a reasonable quantity of older whiskies that were distilled before 1996, the year the distillery was mothballed. Production only resumed in 2002.

File:Glendronach pot stills.jpeg

🍷  The Spirit 

The GlenDronach distillery operates two pairs of Stills of which the Lyne arms point downward to create a full-bodied, Spicy and Nutty Spirit. The Water is sourced from the Dronach Burn.
Related image

🌲  The Wood:

The Parliament 21 Years matured in a mix of Oloroso and Pedro Ximenez casks. Based on the sweetness of the Whisky I assume that more PX casks were used or that the married Whiskies were finished in PX casks for a while. I do not have precise information on this matter so I'm guessing a bit here.

Drinking Experience: Good but quite Woody. 

Conclusion: There are lots of Whisky fans that love Sherry Bombs period. I like to find some balance between Sherry, Distillery Character, Maturation and Age. I don't find this balance in the 21 Year old Parliament. It's basically Sherry and Oak and that leaves this Single Malt on the Heavy, Musty, Dusty side. A bit of a One Trick PX Pony. And it can't be cheap of course. So in my opinion you are better of with the easy going 18 Years Allardice X-mas Cake or, even better, the old stubborn 15 Years Revival. Both are matured in Oloroso casks only and that seems to work better for the GlenDronach spirit, at least in my opinion.  

Jan van den Ende                                                                  January 4, 2018


Happy New Year

Another Year has passed by and it went really quick! Even if Mr. Donald Trump might tweet otherwise. I would like to thank all my readers for their interest and their reaction in the form of comments, requests, e-mails and samples. I would like to wish you and your families a very Happy and Healthy 2018. May the good Whisky Spirit always be with you. Whisky makes more friends than any other product does. Let's keep it that way! 

Cheers!

Jan