The latest release for Rachel Barrie’s time at the helm of Brown-Forman is a stunning Portwood finish from GlenDronach. I have tried it a dram and have to say it is one of the best releases I have had in its style. Not a fan of the recently discontinued Peated Portwood, I had my reservations when I heard that the distillery was heading in a direction that included a few more Port expressions. Those were quashed when I tried this stunning whisky. The press release from the distillery is below, followed by my own tasting notes.

The GlenDronach Port Wood is inspired by the historical import of casked port into Scotland during the 19th century. During the 1800s, port was ‘de rigueur’, and many of the finest port pipes would travel from Portugal, down its Douro River, destined for the wine cellars of Scotland’s gentry.

Whilst many years have since past, Portugal’s majestic Douro Valley is still renowned for its exceptional port. The distillery have selected some of its finest port pipes to house The GlenDronach for a second maturation period of three years.

Master Blender Rachel Barrie has expertly combined the whisky from these port pipes, to create a fruit-filled ten year old expression, with layers of ripe berries rolling into its signature long, lingering finish.”


Tasting Notes:

The colour has, as many Port finishes do, a pink hue to it, inviting images of a summery, refreshing dram which really comes through on the taste.

Three years in Port Pipes has certainly done a wonderful job on the spirit. In the core there is still GlenDronach’s creamy oatmeal notes with subtle apple tones. Combined with a wonderful Black Forrest Cheesecake flavour profile. Strawberry and oatmeal notes on the nose lead in to this creamy, biscuity texture surrounded by berry fruits and a hint of stewed apple spice. Orange zest and dried fruits linger on the finish which is as smooth and refreshing as the colour portrays.

It doesn’t have the cloying, sticky texture we love from those big hitting Sherry beauties or the Single Cask releases that make GlenDronach famous, and for that reason alone I think this may attract some criticism. However, in the defence of this 10-year-old I don’t think it is a release designed to compete, rather than to contract against the norm and make a statement that GlenDronach is flexible, there is room to play and experiment. As long as they don’t play too much and remember their place at the very top of the Sherry tree I think there is a place for releases such as this one.

There are those baying for information on the upcoming Batch 17 release (I’m one of them!), my recommendation is to get this stunning dram in the meantime, appreciate it and enjoy what I think is possibly RB’s best addition to the range yet. Perfect for the summer months ahead….I’m sure they’re coming….sometime….soon…..I hope.