Glendronach 8 ‘The Hielan’

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Thanks to Rani for the sample.

Every sherry fan is familiar with Glendronach, particularly their single cask bottlings and the notorious 15-year-old ‘Revival’. This bottling receives less attention than those, but it’s still quite an interesting thing. A young age statement instead of no age statement, a bold move that the brands more geared towards the real whisky geeks seem to be doing more and more.

8 years old was actually a popular age for whisky in days gone by and even some old Glendronach bottlings carried it. I’m not sure if this is meant to be a revival of that style, or just an attempt to put out a younger, cheaper expression. This is still at least partially sherry matured so that’s promising. Younger sherried whiskies can have this lovely musty smell, like an old 2nd hand bookshop, which I didn’t like when I first encountered it, but slowly grew to like.

Aged 8 years. 46% ABV. No colourant added and non-chill filtered.

Nose: Lots of sour malt and mash notes, almost like the smell at an active brewery. Musty old books. Honey. Pears in wine sauce. Very light citrus and wood spice notes.

Palate: Again very malty, slightly sweeter here with barley sugar, honey and some ginger biscuits. Slightly more ethanol showing through than I’d like, but nothing unpleasant. Woodspice. Cinnamon. Vanilla cream. Slightly salty towards the end.

Finish: Medium. Bitter wood. Orange peel. Dunnage. Slight sweet honeyed flair at the end.

Would I buy this: Yes

Would I order this in a bar: Yes

Would I drink this if someone gave me a glass: Yes

VFM: 4/5

This whisky was straightforward and not very complex, but it was still very drinkable and a bit more interesting than some of the standard fare 12 year old whiskies out there and also more mellow than many whiskies bottled this young. Very nice sipping whisky at the lower end of the price range.

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