In this period of confinement, even my brave BRADPEAT is nailed in his garage.
Nevertheless, we are going back to the north of Scotland in the Highlands to try to discover what the Scottish woman-touch can look like in the making of a whisky.
At GLENDRONACH it will be the paw of Rachel Barrie. As you can imagine, she will of course be a subtle blend of sherry casks (we will come back to this later, we are still at GLENDRONACH) but the surprise will rather come from the strength of the distillate. Indeed, the master blender offers for batch 8 of the annual cask strength the strongest whisky ever produced by the brand: 61%.
First of all let's get to know the master blender nicknamed "Lady Blender". The least we can say is that the chemist who took over from Billy Walker was not born yesterday. Listen to her feats of arms: she has served, among others, for Ardbeg, Laphroaig, Bowmore, Auchentoshan and Glenmorangie, before joining Brown Forman for 2 years to work at BenRiach, Glenglassaugh and GlenDronach. Peat or no peat, she has a palette of achievements that inspires respect.
Enough to delight lovers of real taste and let the tasting be personalized by putting the water (without obligation or abuse of course) that you want.
So, for the eighth version of the cask strength edition, what has the distillery of the Blackberry Valley (GLENDRONACH in Gaelic) concocted for us? Of course, the distillery of Forgues has always produced its distillate from the water of the Glendronach Burn which flows through it and heats its stills with an open flame of coal. Moreover, as always, it has also remained faithful to the Spanish casks. For this edition it has been chosen to use a 10 year old distillate in Pedro Ximenez and Sherry Oloroso casks.
Shouldn't we be in the presence of a magnificent sherry bomb? So what about it?
The liquid flowing into the glencairn is coppery and would have almost a slight greenish sheen.
As you'd expect from a 61% concentration, we're not completely sure how sweet it is. The first notes to appear are quite woody (almost exotic) and spicy. The second passage brings typical sherry aromas with the sugar of a pear and that of a soft raisin. By insisting, the nose gets used to the strength and will soften to reveal notes of vanilla. Try an experiment by tilting the glass and smelling it over. You will discover very pleasant latte macchiato smells.
Another very usual experience for amateurs, let a few drops of water flow into the glass and the strength will diminish in favour of the exacerbation of the aromas.
With or without water, in the mouth the effect of the entry of this batch 8 is the same: power and glory! A promised thing, a due thing: the entry in the mouth is done with a bang. It is necessary to wait a few seconds for the fire to calm down and that beautiful woody notes appear, rather green and quite drying. The sides of the mouth will feel spices and spicy notes when the palate and the tongue will be more on warm notes of ripe red fruits. The sensation will nevertheless be very pleasant. Nevertheless, at the end, it is the spices which will win the game and will invade the mouth, accompanied nevertheless by a touch of liquorice, when swallowing this whisky.
After having turned the mouth upside down, this distillate leaves rather long traces in the throat. They will be spicy but also tannic and dry. A few seconds later, you will even feel a leathery bottom.
And that's the scottish woman touch! Well I can assure you that we're back for more!
Well, even if the shops are closed, you can find some on the internet. I don't know if it would be a good remedy for covid 19, but in any case it will be a good way to pass the time (without abuse of course it's still quite strong!).