Whisky Advent Calendar: Day 9

9 12 2014

A series of firsts in today’s KWM Advent Calendar offering:  first whisky over $100 for a full bottle ($118); first whisky over 16 years of barrel age (18 Year); first whisky aged in Oloroso sherry casks…no, just kidding, it seems that EVERY whisky nowadays ages in Oloroso sherry casks.  It’s just the cool thing to do.  If I owned a distillery I’d age all my whisky in Amontillado sherry casks just to be a rebel.  The GlenDronach Allardice (named after the founder of the distillery) 18 Year Highland Single Malt at least commits fully to the trendy Oloroso path by aging 100% in Oloroso sherry casks for the entirety of the scotch’s aging period — none of this wishy-washy “finishing” stuff.  As a result, it does not mess around with nutty, mealy, maple-y oxidized sherry flavour, but dives in headfirst.

If I hear the word "Oloroso" again this Advent I'm going to scream.

If I hear the word “Oloroso” again this Advent I’m going to scream.

The first thing to note is the colour of this whisky, which almost looks like oversteeped tea as opposed to barrel-aged spirit.  Then the Oloroso aromatic brigade starts, carrying with it a series of grimy kernel- and nut-inspired flavours that would make a barroom floor proud:  salt, stale beer, peanut shells, cold coffee, pretzels.  Things get malty and lively on the palate, all ginger ale, coffee beans, fig, cloves and dark chocolate, leading into a finish that’s a dead ringer for a cappuccino.  Yes, I know that’s weird.  Maybe it’s just Oloroso cask fatigue, but nothing about this whisky really moved me, although I can appreciate the additional complexity and flavour commitment that goes along with the extended aging process.  Sorry GlenDronach:  wrong year, wrong calendar.

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