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GlenDronach distillery was founded in 1826 by a consortium of local investors led by James Allardice. Allardice was something of an expert salesman and within just two years the GlenDronach spirit was selling well throughout the city of London. After a decade of promise however, Allardice and his distillery fell on hard times. In 1837 a fire tore through the site, destroying everything in its path and leaving its owner with no shortage of financial concerns. By 1842, he was declared bankrupt and his distillery fell silent.
Allardice passed away in 1853, but not before witnessing the rebirth of GlenDronach. Acquired by Walter Scott (formerly of Teaninich distillery) in 1852, the distillery was completely rebuilt and spirit flowed once more through the copper stills.
In 2008, Pernod Ricard agreed to sell GlenDronach to the BenRiach Distilling Co. A new visitor centre was constructed onsite and the single malt was rebranded and relaunched to critical acclaim. Predominantly matured in ex-sherry casks, the range quickly gained a dedicated following across the world.
Then, in 2016 news emerged that the company had once again been sold, this time to US-based Brown-Forman, owner of the world famous Jack Daniels brand. It was an announcement that wasn’t altogether welcomed in many quarters, though only time will tell what it will mean for the brand and its reputation.
Though predominantly unpeated, GlenDronach’s distillers have experimented with some peated malt of late which has eventually led to the release of this intriguing Port finished expression. Bottled at 46%, it is available for around £55 – £60 in the UK.
Smell: A heady mix of Berries and Smoke – with a faint Nuttiness, Grape Juice, a touch of Wood and Subtle Campfire Smoke.
Taste: Oak Spice and Chili Powder, Forest Fruits, Plum, Red Wine and a subtle Peat Smoke that lacks the medicinal hit of an Islay.
Thoughts: No real complaints, where price is concerned, though it would have been nice to see an age statement. Your money will buy you an interesting alternative take on the GlenDronach spirit. It’s a fine dram from a consistently good distillery. GlenDronach is usually found unpeated with a strong sherry influence, but it’s fun to find a slightly different approach. Especially as it manages to retain the standards of quality we’ve come to expect.