The GlenDronach Original 12 year old Single Malt Scotch – ‘Coorie in’ with a warming dram this winter.
It’s February and with chill winds, rain and snow around the British Isles, the time of year as the Scots say, to ‘coorie in’. Coorie, traditionally ‘to cower’, is such an evocative word meaning to cuddle up and snuggle in, the Scottish equivalent of the Danish Hygge.
Just picture the scene, wrapped in a woolly jumper or tartan rug, curled up on the sofa in front of a log fire. Coorie is about embracing all things Scottish to find a sense of warmth and happiness. This is the timely message from GlenDronach distillery – ‘Coorie in’ with a dram for a relaxing evening or leisurely weekend at home.
First the release of its rich aroma and then the first sip of the smooth golden liquid slipping down the throat, there’s nothing like the a dram of Scotch whisky for the ultimate Winter Warmer.
So let’s take a closer look at The GlenDronach Distillery and sample their 12 year old Highland single malt.
GlenDronach means ‘valley of the brambles’ in Scots Gaelic. Amidst the hills of the Eastern Highlands, in the fertile landscape of the Forgue valley, The GlenDronach is one of the oldest licensed distilleries, founded in 1826 by James Allardice, an early pioneer of sherry cask maturation. Spanish Sherry was a popular import into Scotland in the 19th Century and Allardice discovered that these casks were the perfect marriage to craft his distinctive Highland spirit.
This heritage has been preserved by a wonderful legend: a parliament of rooks roosting here has been the guardians of the distillery secrets for nearly two hundred years – it is believed that as long as the rooks remain, it will be good for the whisky.
Today GlenDronach Distillery maintains the old fashioned, handcrafted techniques as part of the slow, time consuming journey from the germination of the barley to the careful distillation process through the copper pot stills.
Then the distilled liquor is transferred to the sherry casks and left to mature over many years in the warehouses. Nearly 70% of the flavour in whisky is derived from the cask so the wood itself is an essential ingredient.
All the distillery’s sherry casks are Spanish oak wood from trees in Galicia which is toasted over log fires which unlocks the alchemy of oak wood, before the casks are filled with Pedro Ximénez or Oloroso sherry from Andalucía.
Sherry casks have been a natural, traditional process for centuries, and Spanish oak is still very important for the crafting of The GlenDronach Whiskies.
“I still believe single malt Scotch is the most complex spirit in the world —my goal is to create this balanced character; for the GlenDronach, I want something with finesse and elegance but that’s also weighty and robust. It’s about having those layers and the tension between fine and deeper notes. Dr Rachel Barrie, Master Blender
The GlenDronach Original, Aged 12 Years
What The GlenDronach Distillery team say:
Appearance: Deep, amber-red gold.
Nose: Sweet, vanilla with hints of ginger and spicy mulled wine
Palate: Creamy, silky-smooth, warm oak and sherry sweetness, raisins, soft fruit.
Finish: Long, full and firm, slightly nutty and dry.
First, it’s interesting to research the original characteristics of the Spanish sherries, which will influence the overall aroma, flavour and texture.
Pedro Ximénez sherry: Intense sweet dried fruit aromas of raisins, fig, prunes and dates; orange peel, coconut, nuts, treacle, vanilla, as well as leather and tobacco.
Oloroso sherry: Rich roasted coffee with notes of chocolate, brazil nuts, almonds, muscovado sugar with a bone dry finish.
A sherry with a blend of Oloroso with PX has been described as “the aroma of old navy rum; take a sip and it explodes with raisins, molasses, salted caramel and a finish of walnuts”
The GlenDronach single malt, having been soaked for 12 years in these Spanish sherry casks is sure to offer a similar symphony of flavours. Time to pour a dram, savour and sip in leisurely contemplation.
Nose: An intriguing, aromatic blend of rich fruit cake and dusty wood.
Palate: Approachable, gentle flavours of dried fruits, toffee, cinnamon, ginger, walnuts, orange peel. Balance is the thing it pulls off well, neither too sweet nor too rich, with enough complexity to keep it interesting.
Finish: Warm, spicy and velvety smooth with a soft, pleasant whiff of wood smoke.
This GlenDronach Highland Single Malt, with its sherry wine, citrus and spicy flavours, is ideal to mix in classic Cocktails.
It’s said that this is the world’s most popular whisky cocktail and the recipe is very simple:
50ml GlenDronach 12 Year Old, Brown sugar, Dash of bitters, orange peel.
Pour ingredients over ice and stir with a bar spoon. Strain into a chilled glass with ice, garnish with orange peel.
The rich, smooth and silky taste is equal to its ‘reputation’ as a drink for the macho-man who is perhaps also, rich, smooth and silky.
A Smoky Martini would usually be created with a strongly peated, smoky whisky. Instead, replace the vermouth in a classic dry Gin Martini with this Highland single malt for something tantalisingly different. The late Sean Connery (aka James Bond) would no doubt approve.
60ml Gin, 7.5ml GlenDronach single malt whisky
Add both ingredients to a mixing glass and fill with ice. Stir, and strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.
Alternatively, turn this into a Burnt Martini by combining 60ml gin, 7.5ml Scotch whisky and 15ml dry vermouth.
As a Scottish twist on the Manhattan, the Rob Roy was created around 1894 at the Waldorf Astoria, New York, inspired by an operetta, “Rob Roy,” staged at the nearby Herald Square Theatre. The story is based on Scottish folk hero, Rob Roy MacGregor.
50 ml GlenDronach Single Malt, 20 ml Sweet Rosso Vermouth, dash Angostura Bitters
Stir ingredients over ice in a mixing glass and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with maraschino cherry and serve straight up.
The art of Whisky tasting is always an individual experience and we may all detect remarkably different aromas, tastes and flavours; here, a few dram drinkers describe their personal views of The GlenDronach 12 year old:
Complex and intriguing. Rich caramel, hint of nuts, malted barley, nutty, oak smoke and spicy.
The nose offers aromas of stewed fruits, rhubarb and bramble jam crushed hazel nut, brown sugar and a faint charcoal smokiness. Richly flavoured with sherry fruitiness. A classic warming dram.
An absolute whopper of a sherry-finish whisky. Beautiful fragrance, rich flavour with wonderful smoothness.
This GlenDronach 12 year old Single Malt is clearly an all round winner with both whisky lovers and the experts. It has been awarded numerous Gold medals at the International Wine & Spirits Competition and at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition over recent years.
Dr. Rachel Barrie joined the Brown-Forman family in March 2017 as Master Blender for The GlenDronach, BenRiach and Glenglassaugh distilleries and the following year, she was inducted into The Whisky Magazine’s Hall of Fame. This is the highest accolade The Whisky Magazine can bestow, honouring individuals who have made a lasting contribution to the whisky world.
Find out more about The GlenDronach Distillery on the website, with the range of whisky expressions & vintages, and where to buy: