Whisky Review #2. Glendronach 12 Sauternes Cask Finish

Glendronach 12 Sauternes Cask Finish — fruity goodness!

Since trying this whisky at the very first meeting of my local whisky club back in March of last year, Glendronach has rapidly become one of my very favourite distilleries. I recently heard Glendronach described as ‘the new Macallan’ in reference to the Highland distilleries distinctive sherry matured malts. The distillery itself is on the threshold of the Speyside region and I find the style to be between the two — with the robustness of a highland malt tempered with the fruity softness of a Speysider. Glendronach produce fabulous whiskies, and a particular treat is their annual single cask releases (I shall review one at a later date).

Sauternes finished whiskies are becoming increasingly popular and I have been fortunate enough to enjoy a fair few. I find that the French sweet wine casks tend to add a fruity,perfumed and slightly musty sweetness to a whisky that is quite distinctive with hints of apricots and raw nuts.

The Glendronach 12 Sauternes Cask Finish is bottled at 46% vol, is non-chill filtered and bottled at natural colour — which is a fabulous deep amber from it’s initial maturation in European oak.

On the nose the whisky is sweet and fruity with the typical Sauternes apricot note standing out against a backdrop of baked bananas and the slightest hint of smoke — there is almost, almost, a slight Bourbony edge to the nose and I’m left expecting a sweet and rich dram.

The palate doesn’t disappoint and, perhaps more so than some other Glendronach’s I have tried, you know you are enjoying a Highland Malt. Yes, there is the honey and vanilla of a Speyside (and there are those bananas again), but it also has the spicy dryness associated with the Highlands.

The dryness follows in to a medium finish that retains the sweet spiciness. The Sauternes influence sneaking in again at the end with the signature raw and pithy nuts.

If you really want to bring out the sweet wine influence in this dram add a few drops of water. I found that this softened the palate considerably and sweetened the nose even further. I enjoy this Glendronach either way although I would always recommend trying a whisky as bottled prior to adding water (ordinarily I prefer my whisky as bottled).

The Glendronach 12 Sauternes is a great dram and if you want something a little different then I would strongly recommend trying it. It’s not always easy to find as the batches are popular and limited — so if you see one, grab it! At £40-£45 a bottle it won’t break the bank for something a bit special.