The single malt whisky made by The GlenDronach distillery near Aberdeen owes its unique taste to a 200-year mastery of Spanish sherry cask maturation
Living in the coldest and the wettest part of Scotland might not be everybody’s dream but at The GlenDronach distillery in Aberdeenshire these climatic conditions are one of the secrets behind the rich, warming flavour of its acclaimed single malts. “This means our whisky can sit in the barrels for longer, absorbing all the wood sugars that create the distinct flavours of single malts, without fear of evaporation,” explains Charlotte Coyle, Brand Ambassador for a distillery that can trace back its history nearly 200 years.
Also helping to create the unforgettable spice-filled taste are the Oloroso and Pedro Ximénez sherry barrels acquired from Spain and made from European oak. Over time, they lend the spirit an enchanting essence of raisin, orange, cinnamon and nutmeg. The sherry also adds a mouth-filling viscosity and incredible sweetness, perfectly in balance with the spices. This sherry cask maturation is something that The GlenDronach does better than anybody else, having rarely used any other casks to mature the whisky. “We are the masters of sherry cask maturation,” says Charlotte. “Everything we create is matured in sherry casks. We have been operational as a distillery since 1826 and have used sherry casks ever since. We have close relationships with our Spanish counterparts and ensure that all sherry remains in cask for two years. We aren’t just ‘seasoning’ the barrel, which is a faster and cheaper way to produce a ‘sherried’ whisky effect.”
The GlenDronach’s unique “saxophone” stills, with their curious shape, add another facet to the taste experience during distillation, creating an oiliness that fills the mouth and allows the drinker to absorb and appreciate the combination of flavours. Master blender Rachel Barrie ensures that high standards are attained, time after time.
The GlenDronach produces a core range of aged whisky at 12, 15, 18 and 21 years, as well as the Traditionally Peated, distilled using peated malted barley. And every year, if Rachel approves, the distillery produces limited edition and exclusive cask bottlings, sometimes as collaborations. “The GlenDronach Kingsman Edition 1989 Vintage we produced in 2020, in association with the Kingsman film series, was exceptional,” says Charlotte, “and we have more collaborations and special editions to come, demonstrating the mastery it takes to make this unique whisky.” Please drink responsibly