Home Distilleries Review: GlenDronach 15 Year Revival

Review: GlenDronach 15 Year Revival

by Chris Perugini

Before we get to the present and look at today’s GlenDronach 15 Year review, I want to tell you a story from the past and the effect that it had on my relationship with GlenDronach. I bought a bottle of GlenDronach 15 Year Revival back in 2013 after doing some research on new distilleries to explore. I was excited to dig into this highly touted release but upon pouring the first glass, I was greeted with a distinct rubber/burnt tire note on the nose that I found to be incredibly off-putting. The note didn’t follow as heavily onto the palate once I tasted it but as we all know, the nose of a whisky is a huge part of the tasting process. Months passed as I shared pours from this bottle with friends and family and I eventually realized that I seemed to be the only one who was sensitive to this rubber note. I wasn’t sure if it was that particular bottle/batch or a trend with the distillery in general but that experience put GlenDronach on the back burner for me for a long time.

A few years ago, I had the opportunity to try the 18 and 21 year expressions at an in-store tasting and lo and behold, the rubber note I prepared for was nowhere to be found. Was there something different about these older expressions? Did something change across the entire distillery? Did I really have a bad bottle several years earlier? I’ll never know the answer to these questions for sure but I began exploring and appreciating the distillery from that point forward.

A few months ago, I had an opportunity to try a 2021 bottling of GlenDronach Revival. This was the moment of truth for me. Would I face that same rubber note that turned me off all those years ago? Things should have been at least slightly different this time around. The first time I tried the 15 year, it was made from 100% ex-Oloroso casks and came from pre-mothballed distillate in 1995 making it 18 or 19 years old. The modern version was from distillate produced after 2002 and includes the use of ex-PX casks as well. And despite the hoopla that went on earlier this year, I’ve been told by a Brown-Forman rep that the whisky making process has not changed at all since the now-infamous removal of the phrase “non-chill filtered” on the outer packaging of all standard range GlenDronach bottlings so we can assume non-chill filtration here.

With all these facts straight, the only thing left to do was taste the new bottle. GlenDronach Revival is aged at least 15 years in ex-Sherry casks and is bottled at 46% ABV.

Image courtesy of GlenDronach
GlenDronach 15 Year Revival - 46% ABV
Category Notes
Appearance Reddish amber
Nose Plums and figs, pencil eraser, clove, hint of licorice, cacao nibs, cherry compote, orange marmalade, Demerara sugar, walnuts, pencil eraser. Water brings out a bit of sharpness to the nose as well as damson jam and raisins.
Taste Dry spice first with clove, white pepper, and a little nutmeg, more walnut, lots of wine influence, dark chocolate, clotted cream, honey, hints of earthiness, spicy oak. With water, more nuttiness and some additional baking spice.
Finish Big sweet sherry first followed by oranges, more plums, cinnamon, almonds, and a hint of fresh mint at the end. The sweetness and oak remains for a good long while. Water adds some lemongrass, anise, and a touch of baked apples.
Overall Thoughts GlenDronach Revival was the perfect name for a brand that completely reinvented itself under the guidance of Billy Walker. As the brand matured and eventually sold to Brown-Forman, the quality of the distillery’s products remains a talking point despite what I think has been a relatively consistent product line over the past five years. GlenDronach Revival is a bit unbalanced with a bit too much sherry dominance for my preferences and I found just a touch of rubber on the nose of this release. With that said, it’s a popular release among whisky fans for a reason and will satisfy the craving for lovers of heavily sherried whisky.
Total Score 87/100

You may also like

Leave a Comment

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More