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1996 Glendronach Single Cask No.244 Oloroso Sherry Butt Cask Strength 18 Year Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky (700ml)
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- ABV 56.9%
The Glendronach Single Cask bottlings are always keenly anticipated by whisky enthusiasts seeking extended age, hard-to-find, 'old school' sherried malts in the most unadulterated form imaginable.
Just launched in Australia is the new Batch 11. Across the board, it's impossible to ignore the striking sienna brown colour of these whiskies, each promising a flavour extravaganza for Sherry-heads. Unfortunately, colour and distillery notes are all we have to go on. There are no samples (the miniscule allocation doesn't justify it) and at the time of writing, it seems reviews of these whiskies are non-existent (despite the official UK launch being in January this year.) Six months later almost no one has caved in to opening a bottle - a fact not only indicative of a growing industry trend but symptomatic that "collecting mania" has set in at Glendronach. If for you, Batch 11 is just another opportunity to 'diversify a portfolio', this is at least one annual release where speculation (arguably) presents less risk than other offers of its kind. After all, it is the collection that routinely dazzles spirits writers. Jim Murray commented of last year's, "...when this distillery gets it right, your taste buds don't stand a chance. Almost brain-explodingly complex".At the very worst you're going to be stranded with a great bottle of whisky.
Ranging from 43 to 18 years old, there is once again, huge and intriguing variety across the nine expressions in Batch 11, six of which were matured in Pedro Ximenez Sherry Puncheons, two in Oloroso Sherry Butts and one in an Oloroso Sherry Puncheon. All nine single casks have been hand-selected by BenRiach’s Managing Director and Master Distiller Billy Walker who comments:
“I believe Batch 11 makes a very simple point - the wood has a huge influence on the spirit. You immediately sense - and taste - the influence of the casks on these nine sublime single malts.... In these nine expressions you feel the pulse of our inventory at GlenDronach and the idiosyncratic personality of the casks coming through. That, plus the passion and craftsmanship of our people, is what produces these incredible whiskies time and time again.”
Walker adds that batch Eleven has a number of highlights:
The oldest, 1971 cask number 2920, at 48.6% vol, is a monster 43 year old malt matured in a Pedro Ximenez Sherry Puncheon. Intense treacle toffee floods over sour plums and roasted coffee. Harmonising waves of leather and tobacco give great depth and are balanced perfectly by a subtle toasted walnut and date back note. As a contrast, the 18 year old from cask number 244, at 56.9% vol, is the youngest, distilled in February 1996. Matured in a fine Oloroso Sherry Butt, there is a tremendous balance of mixed candied peel and stewed dark fruits sprinkled with dark Demerara. Delicious waves of toffee, cracked barley and warm oak spices combine to give a long and elegant finish.
Just like last year's collection, all the whiskies are in exceedingly short supply. Whether for drinking or investment, buying early will maximise your PFM (pleasure for money ratio).
Distilled in 1996, cask 244, an Oloroso Sherry Butt, was bottled November 2014 at a natural strength of 56.9% in November 2014. 399 bottles produced.