I have a soft spot for GlenDronach. I think this has something to do with growing up in Aberdeen, but more so because of the well-known and much-fabled ‘older-than-they-state’ bottlings of the 15 Revival, the 18 Allardice, and the 21 Parliament (this great Words of Whisky article explains further), and because of the sherry bombs they do so well.
So, in early January I was browsing the Just-Whisky auction site and I spotted The GlenDronach The Doric. The Doric name is a nice, polite nod and reference to the Scots language and dialect which is predominantly found in the North East of Scotland, and where GlenDronach are based (Forgue, near Huntly).
Released in 2015 as an exclusive for the Taiwanese market, The Doric is a No Age Statement (NAS), and is bottled at a fairly-high 50% ABV. I have actually struggled to find any kind of in-depth information on this bottling, other than what is stated on the packaging, which states that it is “matured and married in a combination of Bourbon and Sherry casks”, so here’s hoping my review offers up a bit more information!
I checked my invoice from this purchase, and I paid £80 including delivery and insurance for The Doric. From what I can see, this is a fairly good price when compared to a few of the auction sites where it has gone for as much as £120 in the past. Note that the price is reflective of my having additional purchases in the same order, which has brought the delivery costs and shipping insurance down – if you are only purchasing one bottle at auction then it suffices to say that there will not be much saving once you factor in additional costs. Incidentally, here’s a blog I wrote with some basic information regarding online whisky auctions.
Now, my review. I can say I did, and do, enjoy this GlenDronach offering. It’s probably on the more expensive side, however this is – to me at least – down to it being limited for the Taiwanese market, so it was always going to cost a bit more to secure a bottle.
Nose: Honey, slight vanilla from the bourbon, and the usual wee bit of sherry. It’s lighter than almost all other GlenDronachs I have seen, caused by the bourbon cask again. Definitely less punchy on the nose than the usual offerings, but it’s pleasant and rounded, and not too complex. 6/10
Palate: Not spectacular, yet certainly welcoming. I get more vanilla now, with some subtle sherry and red fruits – it’s well-rounded, smooth, yet not overly sweet. The 50% ABV isn’t too noticeable either, and it’s subtle enough to pick up the overriding flavours, so I refrained from adding any water. 7/10
Finish: Sweetness increases with the honey and vanilla coming back in to play. There’s not too much of the sherry or red fruits which were as prominent as before. A wee bit of spiciness left on the tongue, but, to be honest, the finish is a bit lacking and dissipates quicker than expected. 6/10
Overall, it’s an enjoyable dram that I would happily have to hand, but not too much of a surprise it wasn’t released to a wider market – if anything, the limited chances to grab one have probably led to a spike in sales by GlenDronach fans outwith Taiwan (for example, me). If I can secure another in the same price range at auction then I would try and buy again.