Perfecting The Art of Sherry Cask Finishes for 192 Years

The GlenDronach is one of the oldest distilleries in Scotland, creating richly sherried Highland Single Malts for the best part of two centuries. To find this gem, you’re best heading towards Speyside from Aberdeen, a road well travelled by whisky explorers, deep into the to the East Highland hills and the valley of Forgue (google will do the rest).

At the entrance, Glen House greets you. Rumour has it the building,  built in 1771,  is haunted by a Spanish lady who travelled to Scotland in a sherry cask. Locals will tell you that she is quite partial to “the odd tipple now and again”, and after an afternoon at this distillery so will you. Salud, we say.

The Glendronach style can be described as a “true Highland style”, which really references it as a big and robust spirit, the type of spirit that will stand up well to long periods of maturation. Particularly in sherry casks. This is something James Allardice, The Glendronach’s founder, recognised early on as he pioneered the processed of maturing whisky in Pedro Ximenez and Oloroso sherry casks. Today that work is being continued by the current master blender, Rachel Barrie.

Rachel Barrie and Ashley Pini in the Glendronach distillery

One of Scotland’s rising stars, Barrie has most recently been working on the relaunch of an old favourite that went out of production in 2015. The Glendronach Revival (15-year-old) had been a victim of its own success, its popularity creating a shortage of the aged stock needed to keep the supply flowing.  Barrie is bringing the Revival back to life – and you can expect to see new stock in Australia early next year.

Explore Whisky got a sneak preview a few months back and the 15-year-old shows plenty of ripe dark fruits and honey with an elegant silk-velvet chocolate finish, derived from a maturation period in ex-oloroso and PX Spanish oak casks from Andalucía. The Revival is bottled at 46% abv.

Rachel Barrie serving The Revival 15-year-old

At the tasting, Barrie said, ‘Today marks the return of The Glendronach Revival aged 15 years, an iconic aged expression of critical acclaim, revered by connoisseurs around the globe.’ We continue to work towards mastering the art of sherry cask maturation, and our Highland whiskies are recognised for their deep colour and rich flavour profiles, which range from sweet fruity flavours, from the Pedro Ximenez casks we select to the dry and nutty notes, from superb Oloroso casks. Our well-kept secrets have been guarded for nearly 200 years by a parliament of rooks who love The GlenDronach so much they try to nest in the warehouses. The distillery folk believe as long as the rooks remain at the distillery, it will be good for the whisky.’

The Glendronaugh’s next release is just around the corner, so keep an eye out for the annual Cask Strength release – Batch number 7.  Available in very limited quantities in the Australian market. You have to be quick to get your bottle of Batch 7.  Explore Whisky will announce how you can get your bottle of this delicious Highlands Single Malt later today.

The sort after annual cask strength release – Batch 7


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