“Allardice,” the namesake for the 18-Year-Old Glendronach under review, comes from “Allardes,” which is the last name of the founder of this fine Highland distillery.
It’s hard to believe that GlenDronach opened its doors way back in 1826. That’s almost two hundred years ago! On that same year, the internal combustion engine was first patented. Ludwig van Beethoven was composing his famous scores. And, last but not least…in Huntly, Aberdeenshire, Mr. James Allardes was busy at work perfecting the fine art of distilling single malt Scotch whisky.
A bottle of very old whisky can literally serve as a time capsule, at least for whisky makers. For example, in 1975 at Aberlour distillery, workmen who were replacing a whisky still unearthed an old bottle of Scotch that was wrapped in a newspaper from 1898. The broth inside had obviously been aged in a first fill sherry cask, and this insight helped to create what eventually came to be known as A’bunadh.
Today, “sherry bomb” is common to whisky nomenclature. However, if that very old bottle at Aberlour had never been unearthed, the lost art of aging spirit in first-fill sherry casks might never have made such a dramatic comeback.
Unlike quite a bit of whisky these days, I really do think James Allardes would appreciate what his flagship, Glendronach Distillery, is producing nearly two hundred years after he first opened its doors. A lot has changed since then, but not his fruit-forward style of whisky.
Tasting Notes: GlenDronach Allardice
Vital Stats: GlenDronach 18 Year Old Allardice; 46% ABV; May 15, 2014 OB; LH30430.
Appearance: Burnished mahogany. The legs are nice and oily, with phat beads that stroll down the sides of your glass at their leisure. Oh yeah. This one’s a big boy.
Nose: Oloroso casks immediately come the fore, with dates, prunes, and raisins. Powdered chocolate. There’s also a subtle yet savory thing going on here, which reminds me of rich meaty juices from a bison steak, and perhaps a hint of bone broth.