GlenDronach 1993 Master Vintage

Dear Whisky Friends,

Today is a very special moment for me and Best Shot Whisky Reviews. After some time in Europe with our family there I'm back in Brazil and ready to write Review # 1000. I never thought I would reach this number when I started back in November of 2011. I thought it would be nice to look back at Review # 1 where I reviewed the Johnnie Walker Red Label. I've learned a lot about Nosing and Tasting Whisky since then! Here it is: 


Review # 1

Country: Scotland
Brand: Johnnie Walker Red Label
Type: Blended Scotch Whisky
Age:   Around 8 Years
Alcohol: 40%

Colour: Light Amber

Nose: Grain, a light Malty Sweetness, a bit of Peat and Islay Smoke (Caol Ila) and lots of young Grain Alcohol.

Taste: Rough, Some Smoke, Burns a bit on the tongue. Very faint Vanilla.

Finish: Sharp, Hot and Spicy (Pepper). Your mouth becomes very dry after a short while.

Rating: 76 

Nose: 20 – Taste: 19 – Finish: 18 – Overall: 19

General Remarks: Whilst a little Water eases the burning sensation, it kills the blend completely.

Drinking Experience Neat: Below Average

Drinking Experience on the Rocks: Okay/Good

Conclusion:  Hard to explain why this is the world’s most popular blended whisky. It shows what good marketing can do. Save a bit more and go for the Black Label. What a difference! As for Red, preferably on the rocks or for mixing.

Jan van den Ende                                                                    November 7, 2011


But that was then and this now! For Whisky Review # 1000 I have selected a very special Whisky that I tasted for the first time at the distillery back in 2017. It was probably the best Distillery Visit and Tasting Session out of all those we experienced during our Whisky trips in 2014, 2017 and 2019! I'm really looking forward to have a look at this 25 Year old GlenDronach!

I would like to thank all Whisky friends that have made Best Shot Whisky Reviews their point of reference. More than 4.5 million page views since 2011. Who could have thought that! The famous whisky writer Ingvar Ronde made me the greatest compliment possible. He wrote that "he liked my honest reviews" and also that "if Jan thinks a whisky is not good he will tell you". Of course I realize that personal taste is strictly subjective. You might love a Whisky that I don't like. But after 1000 Reviews I can at least tell you if the new made spirit and casks used where of good quality and if maturation time was sufficient. I'm really looking forward to continue writing my reviews and I hope you will continue to read them!




“Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree”

Whisky Review # 1000

Country: Scotland 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿
Region: Highlands
Brand: GlenDronach 1993 Master Vintage - Bottled 29-01-2019
Type: Single Malt Scotch Whisky 
Age: 25 Years
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 48.2% (On or around Cask Strength)
Maturation: A mix of Pedro Ximenez and Oloroso casks from Spain
Chill Filtration: No
Price Range: US$ 400-800 (November 2023)
Price/Quality Ratio: 👎 It can't be cheap of course but it is too expensive!
Buying Advice: 😐 Good Single Malt but so is the better priced Allardice 18

Colour: Dark Mahogany (Natural Colour)


Please be sure to give this GlenDronach enough time in the glass before Nosing as it opens up slowly. There's a bit of Sulphur around but nothing to get worried about. The Nose is mostly Sweet but not annoyingly so. There are also Sour, Salty and Mineral notes. The Oak is noticeable but does not overwhelm, leading me to believe that probably mostly (2nd) Re-Fill casks were used for maturation. Christmas is in the Air as Christmas Cake, Dried Fruit, Spices and Nuts lead the way. The Alcohol is well-integrated. Well-Matured Rum and Brandy come to mind as well. I like it!

Main Aromas:

Toasted Barley, Molasses, Caramel, Dried Fruit such as Raisins, Sultanas, Apricots, Plums and Figs, Mixed Nuts (Almonds, Hazelnuts, Walnuts), X-Mas Cake, Marzipan, Chocolate, Espresso, Polished Old Leather Upholstery, Oak, Earth, Nutmeg, Cloves, Cinnamon and Mint/Menthol.     

Supportive Aroma Accents:

Honey, Yeast, Wax, Vanilla, slightly Sour Mulled Wine, Dunnage Warehouse, Salted Meat, Prune Jam, Tobacco, Soy Sauce, Dark Berries, Citrus, Green Apple, Pepper, Garam Masala and Ginger.    


It basically follows the Nose but in a less balanced way. The Alcohol, Oak &  Spices are stronger now and threaten the Fruit. The Palate is mostly Bitter-Sweet with some Salty, Sour and Mineral notes for balance. Quite Dry. I was expecting more to be honest!

Main Flavours:

Toasted Barley, Molasses, Caramel, Dried Fruit like Sultanas, Plums, Figs & Prunes, Marzipan, Nougat, Mixed Nuts, Seville-Orange, X-Mas Cake, Oak, Dark Chocolate, Leather, Earth, Soy Sauce, Black Tea, Espresso, Pepper, Nutmeg, Cloves, Garam Masala and Menthol/Mint. 

Supportive Flavour Accents:

Honey, Wax, Vanilla, slightly Sour Mulled Wine, Dried and Salted Meat, Dried Herbs, Dunnage Warehouse, Tobacco, Iron, Dark Berries, Cinnamon and Ginger.    


Long, quite Tannic, slightly Hot and Dry. Sweet at first but with developing Bitter & Sour notes towards the end. The Alcohol is more noticeable now and so is the Oak.I find Toasted Barley, Molasses, Caramel, Vanilla, Dried Fruit like Raisins, Dates, Figs, Sultanas & Prunes, Mixed Nuts, Dark Cocoa, Oloroso Sherry, Orange Liqueur, Black Tea, Espresso, Soy Sauce, Tobacco, Leather, Oak, Iron, Pepper, Cloves, Nutmeg,  Garam Masala, Ginger, Cinnamon and Menthol. The Finish is the less interesting part of this GlenDronach.

Drinking Advice:

I added a little Water and that eases the Alcohol and the Sharp notes in general. I also get some Fresh Stone Fruit on the Nose now. The Finish becomes even longer with lots of Tannic notes and Menthol. It's certainly worthwhile to experiment with a little Water in this case.

Rating: 8 (********)

Nose: 8.5 - Taste: 8 - Finish: 7.5 

*** Important Note with respect to Rating.

If the Final score is above 8 you can safely buy the whisky in question if and when it fits your Aroma/Flavor profile. If the score is between 6 and 8 you might want to try it out in the form of a sample or if offered at a good price. Anything below 6 should be left alone when you are looking for a nice sipping whisky. You might still like it of course & I realize pricing is an important item for many whisky fans especially when you are used to enjoy whisky in a cocktail or a mixed drink.

Drinking Experience Neat: Good but quite Tannic and Oaky.


GlenDronach was founded in 1826 by James Allardice in Forgue, Aberdeenshire. It changed hands various times before being acquired in 2016 by Brown Forman. The core range consists of the 12 Years, the 15 Years Revival, the 18 Years Allardice and the 21 Years Parliament. We visited the distillery in May 2019 and we had an unforgettable time there. I will treasure this memory for always. A very nice Tour and a tasting that included the whole range of the distillery plus some extras. Great! I can only fully recommend a visit!

The casks for the 1993 Vintage were selected by Master Blender Rachel Barrie. It must be said that various of the best 1993 casks have been released over the years as Single Cask editions.

I specially selected this GlenDronach Master Vintage 1993 to be my Review # 1000. I bought it especially for this purpose at the distillery in 2017. I tasted a 25 Years there that blew my mind & I expected this Master Vintage to be very good as well. I am a bit disappointed though with this 25 Years edition. It's a good Single Malt of course but it's a bit of a one track pony. I quite like the balanced nose but the Dry Palate and Finish are hijacked by Tannic Oak and loads of Spices. It's a nice after-dinner Whisky to be enjoyed under the Christmas Tree. But it's not exceptional and it should be at this price level!


Jan van den Ende                                                                 November 30, 2023


Ken_L said...

Great to see you reach such a milestone. May you post many thousands more! And I would note that your review of JW Red has undoubtedly helped many more people than reviews of small, expensive batches, valuable though they are.

Can't agree with you about JW Black, however. Horrible thin whisky!

Jan van den Ende said...

Thanks for your reaction and kind words Ken. Really appreciated!I totally agree with you on the Red Review. In the meantime I have reviewed most known blends but I always buy and review new editions when they are available over here in Brazil. I agree with you that the Black has lost quality over the years. But it's still my to-go-to Blend when I'm pouring a whisky on the rocks.
Cheers and a nice weekend! 🥃

Anonymous said...

Dear Jan,

congratulations and kudos for 1.000 reviews - what an achievment. Best wishes and I am looking forward to the next 1.000....

And, you chose a dram which is worthy for the 1.000th review, and still remain honest and direct, cleary stating that you expected more and were a bit dissapointing not getting overwhelmed neither by the 1.000 nor by tasting such a rarity (but this makes expectations even higher)! At least from my point of view this is exactly why your regular readers love your reviews. As Ingvar Ronde pointed out.

All the best and enjoy the start of the Christmas season.

Best regards

Jan van den Ende said...

Dear Björn, Thanks a lot for your kind words. You really get to the essence of my reviews and I greatly appreciate that. I'm also looking forward to the next 1000 and there are some interesting specials coming up in the next two months. I wish you very pleasant Christmas Holidays. Let's hope 2024 will be a better year for the world!
Cheers my friend!🥃