There are times like this when solemnity is called for and when sitting in a club chair by the fire is a must.
Moreover if this moment of pleasure is accompanied by beautiful ghost stories like the one told in the Highland area of FORGUE... Go and take a walk next to the sherry cask which is under the bridge of the Dronac river.... But I let you discover the story of the Spanish dancer who is still inside in the tasting of GLENDRONACH CASK STRENGTH Batch 9 (here)
The tasting of a GLENDRONACH single cask release clearly deserves this chair and this honour.
The one we are going to taste today was distilled in 1993 and bottled 27 years later. What's more, it stands out as an exclusivity of exclusivity since it comes from a single cask cracked in 2021 and destined for the Maison du Whisky.
Before anything else, I suggest you let it wake up and open up. A piece of advice: slip it into a nice tasting glass and forget about it (while keeping an eye on it anyway), on the edge of
the fireplace, while I tell you about this SINGLE CASK RELEASE series.
So the story of this range begins in 2009, under the Walker (Billy) era and perpetuated by Dr Barrie (Rachel) with each year (and sometimes more), the release of a new distillate.
It consists of exhuming old vintage casks from the warehouse under the watchful eyes of the crows on the distillery roof. And when I say old casks, I mean really old casks: very honourable 1971, 1972 or younger 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993.... At semi-canonical ages of over 45 years for the oldest.
Because yes, as with wine, there seem to be exceptional vintages in whisky. I won't enumerate them, but among them are 1971 (a great year for those of you who know me), 1972 and, closer to home, 1992 and 1993.
As GLENDRONACH lovers know, here we are talking about Sherry, so imagine these old distillates forgotten in Pedro Ximenez casks or in big Oloroso puncheons for so many years?
Well, you simply get some excellent old sherry bombs ready to explode in your mouth.
In your armchair, while the one we are going to taste is winking at you from the top of its chimney, I am going to introduce it to you anyway.
Admittedly, it is not from the 1970s (perhaps in these lines one day) but it was distilled in 1993 (a great year of production at Forgues). It rested for a long time in the big puncheon of Oloroso n°7274 but only gave a few degrees to the angels. It was exhumed in 2021, 27 years later, and bottled at its natural strength of 54.2%. This is the 19th round!
Come on, that's enough, get out of the torpor of your chair and pick up the glass which contains a deep copper coloured liquid that is almost mahogany in colour, before sliding back into its soft cushion!
Bring the glass up to your nose. The primary aromas of this whisky will separate the habits one might have with an Oloroso cask-aged whisky.
Despite the degree of bottling, the first nose will be soft, creamy and syrupy. But don't be fooled, let it linger in the glass and it will be attacked by peppery and spicy notes.
On the second pass, the spices give way entirely to a mixture of red fruits and citrus fruits closer to what we are used to with a sherry whisky. The notes will be more vinous
and close to an Oloroso.
The third passage will be a mixture of spices, then more floral and airy notes.
Let's travel back in time and for almost 30 seconds (to give it credit) by tasting it.
When it enters the mouth, we will first discover vinous notes. But quickly, despite its age, it will reveal quite a lot of power and heat with very present spices.
The heat is going to be more and more important, we could almost feel the leather of our club chair. The rest is a mixture of slightly acid caramel and velvet. It is hot.
When notes of oxidation and woodiness settle in for a while, they are immediately enhanced by a spicy banderole.
Once swallowed (because it must be swallowed after a while) it will let sweet aromas of sultanas settle for a long time, but also a hint of roasted cocoa beans!
Just one desire to dive back into the meanders of time and make the journey again!