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! 



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