Review: Glendronach 12

Glendronach 12

Glendronach came back with a bang. After an unfortunate period of closure (mothballed from 1996 to 2001) they’ve spent the last 14 years proving they’ve still got what it takes, and today their whisky-nerd credentials are through the roof: They don’t do training whisky (whisky bottled below 43%). They don’t chill filter. They don’t submerge their whisky in caramel colourant. They stand by their age statements. And of course, their casks – their lovely delicious casks. We’re talking (exclusively) PX and Oloroso sherry casks of the highest order. Yes please!

Glendronach 12 was my first dive into a 100% sherry matured single malt, and remains one of my (spoiler alert) absolute favourites. To me, it’s to sherry what Ardbeg is to peat, what Johnnie Black is to spice – the sherried dram by which I compare all others.

  • Colour:

A beautiful burnt orange/red, copper.

  • Nose:

A big whiff of sweet sherry, but not as intense as you might expect (I’ll leave that to the 15, 16 and 18!) Buttery vanilla, custard. Very faint floral smell.

  • Taste:

A tough one to discover – it’s a single, rich flavour that takes a while to unpack. Very sweet, spicy and a faint fruitiness – cherries perhaps. Sour cream, brown sugar and mint. Red fruits, raisins. Fantastic. And prepare for a slow ride out – this lingers for a while. A bitter finish that develops sweet and fruity.

  • Water:

Although I prefer it neat, Glendronach 12 is one of the rare cases where a bit of water brings out enough new, interesting flavours to justify watering it down a little. A teaspoon of water takes the edge off the alcohol but leaves it sweeter, slightly citrusy (a faintly sour bite), buttery and smooth as silk.

Review: Glendronach 12

Review: Glendronach 12


Sherry matured whiskies are often referred to as “dessert” whiskies, and it’s easy to see why: this stuff is rich. This isn’t something you could slam at the bar – more than a glass or two will leave you feeling more bloated than during your post-Christmas-lunch nap.

But it’s wonderfully complex, difficult to analyse and leaves a lot to think about. I loved it, and I love Glendronach. Certainly not my everyday dram – but give me a rainy day in winter, a warm couch and a crackling fireplace and I’d nurse a glass without hesitation.

Glendronach 12
Quality: Great
Price: Reasonable
See my rating guide here

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