Glendronach 12 year old is our Malt of the Month for December.
In 1826 the exuberant and extroverted James Allardice founded the Glendronach Distillery and produced his ‘Guid GlenDronach’ single malt only 3 years after the Excise Act of 1823, which legalized distilling in Scotland. This was one of the first legal distilleries in Scotland.
Down the years, the distillery he created has thrived under the stewardship of far-sighted investors like Walter Scott in 1847 and Captain Charles Grant in 1920. In more recent times, GlenDronach was bought in 1960 by William Teacher & Sons. But In 2008, GlenDronach was granted its independence! Yes it was bought by a consortium of single malt whisky lovers, who are steering the old girl down the path of whisky perfection! They still supply a good chunk of production off to Teachers, but that gives them the money to keep putting pure spirit in Sherry Oak, rather than American Oak barrels. GlenDronach is the only distillery that puts all of its single malt into sherry oak. All of it.
Glendronach is one of the few distilleries that still malts its own barley. Malting is the process of germinating barley by wetting it. The barley thinks, “ that must be rain, so I better grow”. To start growing, the seed needs energy, so it turns the tightly packed complex starches into simple sugars that it can use up to start to grow. Just then, along comes a master distiller and blows hot air through the floor and dries all the water out of the barley, so it has to stop growing, leaving the starches as simple sugars, ready to be fermented into alcohol. And that is malting your barley. If they use a peat fire to dry out the barley, then you get the intense peaty smell and flavour, but in this case, they use clean hot air.
Glendronach 12yo is aged in a blend of Oloroso and Pedro Ximinez sherry casks, so it should have rich dried fruits and Christmas pudding characters. Good timing, eh? Aged 12 years, which is a good age for a sherry wood aged whisky, as it tends to age a little slower in Sherry Oak.
Really rich and enticing. Beautiful round initial fruit flavours followed by wave after wave of caramel, ginger, nutmeg, custard, creme caramel, yum, yum, yum…