Glendronach 12 Year Old

A birthday gift from a friend, I was rather excited to receive this bottle… a new whisky that I hadn’t previously tried!

I can’t claim to know much about the Glendronach whiskies but their website indicates that the distillery was founded in 1826, changed ownership several times before ceasing production in 1996, but was back in full production by 2002. This is a malt that I have seen in local liquor stores but, seeing as I didn’t purchase it for myself, I’m not completely sure of it’s price tag. The Glendronach 12 Year Old whisky is bottled at 43% abv.


To the Eye
This whisky is quite striking, almost disarming, in it’s unusually rich colour. In the bottle, it has a unique deep brown appearance and in the glass, it still appears much darker in colour than most whiskies. A dram of Glendronach 12 is a deep gold with flashes of red that immediately have me expecting a heavy sherry influence.

In the Nose
Sherry, certainly… But also plums and sweet cherries. The tasting notes on the sleeve suggest ginger and vanilla, which I’m not sure I’m picking up. I do sense a zesty character, but it’s more like orange zest than ginger in my opinion. It’s a pleasant nose, but not all that complex.

On the Tongue
Aggressive oak and sherry dominate the fist sip. It’s quite smooth and further tastes reveal black pepper and some burnt sugar. Partway into the dram, that heavy oak has become rather bitter – not in a horrible way, but not in a great way, either. It’s a lot like a slightly bitter walnut. Again, not overly complex. The finish is short, although the dry, bitter oak tannins stick around a bit longer than I want them to.

Final Thoughts
I’ve had a few drams from this bottle now and I have to admit that it’s not really growing on me. In my mind, it has a similar character to a Glenrothes and I have a similar opinion of it – okay, but it’s not threatening my top 10 (or 20) anytime soon.

3 thoughts on “Glendronach 12 Year Old”

  1. I had a dram of this while in Speyside and must admit to really enjoying it. It had a bit more punch than some of the smoother caramel malts I had been trying and it just really stood out.
    Then I met an old guy in a bar who told me (in impressive detail) about the distillery’s history. Made it that bit more special!

    1. Thanks for making the first comment on my blog! Although Glendronach 12 is not one of my favourites, I certainly respect your difference of opinion. I think different whiskies are appreciated by different palates, which is one of the reasons why I refuse to try and give them a “grade” and prefer to just offer my opinion. I can imagine that sampling the Glendronach right at the source made for a special dram! I wonder if there is any difference in the spirit available here in Canada?

      1. Yeah the context in which it is consumed makes a big difference. I expect the only difference in Canada would be the price. Slightly more expensive on the other side of the ocean – don’t get me started on how much dearer it would be in Australia!

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