Ah, The GlenDronach 21-year-old Parliament. I’ve been looking forward to the moment when I’d get around to this impressive looking malt. Not only is it a well-aged GlenDronach, but it has been matured in a combination of Oloroso and PX ex-Sherry casks. That and it has been bottled at a generous 48 percent ABV. What’s not to get excited about?
As previously mentioned in my review of The GlenDronach 15-year-old, the distillery was purchased in 2008 by the BenRiach Distillery, which is owned by Billy Walker and partners. They launched the new core range in 2009, which included the dual cask matured 12-year-old, 15-year-old Revival and 18-year-old Allardice. Since then this dual cask matured 21-year-old has been added to the range along with a good number of other expressions, which include their Cask Strength offerings. Batch #1 is next up for review.
In the world of deep, rich sherried monsters, GlenDronach has certainly set itself fairly high on the selection list. The GlenDronach 15-year-old Revival and Aberlour A’Bunadh have certainly become my go-to sherried malts when looking to relax with a complex whisky that can be enjoyed any time but still grabs my attention with each sip. Whiskies such as this 21-year-old are of course quite nice, but the price tends to make it more of a special occasion type whisky. We’ll call this one celebrating the weekend, or perhaps a little relaxation before holiday travels.
Price: Approx $145/750ml
ABV: 48% – Non Chill-Filtered / No Coloring
Color: Deep Amber – Like the 15-year-old, it’s beautiful and quite impressive.
Nose: The second you raise the glass to your nose you know you’re in for a treat – Dark, elegant and refined with hints of dates, fig, cinnamon stick, sherried oak, cigar box, apricot, spiced honey, almond praline, orange and lemon candies and red grapes. A lot of the obvious classics are in there, but my God if it doesn’t go on and on. This is a glass you can get lost in, and I think I did for a while.
Palate: Starts off quite heavy with a rich, bold sweetness that’s meshed with all of these coating sweet spices and herbs – cinnamon, nutmeg, raisins, apricot, prune, wax candy, cocoa, citrus peel, straw, basil and dried berries.
Finish: Long with lingering dried fruity notes, bold spices and sweet oak.
Although the 15-year-old is slightly more balanced and remains my favorite, this is definitely another GlenDronach for the shelves – Quite a bold sherry monster full of great depth and character. The flavors are quite intense at first but once you adapt to its level there’s a brilliance you can’t help but love. I will most absolutely be sipping on this again tonight after dinner or some dessert. This also may very well be one of the perfect Christmas drams, just need some true fruitcake to go along with it. (B+/A-)