The ageing population is a big problem for society, with the cost of caring for the elderly to provide the greatest strain on government coffers for the years to come. Luckily for the whisky loving community, getting older is a good thing, except for the effect that purchasing old whiskies has on our bank accounts. Age statements are printed proudly and brightly on bottles and cartons, with the public (often correctly) perceiving that older equals better. With the Glendronach 18 I believe I’ve experienced my first instance of ageism with whisky – I liked it better when it was younger.
I loved Glendronach’s 12 year old and 15 year old expressions for their unabashed fruitiness and explode-in-your-mouth sherry flavor. I wanted to taste the 12 year old when it was more matured, thinking it would improve things, and I got what I wanted with the 15 year old. So the 18 year old should be better again, right?
The nose is quite rich, moreso than its younger siblings as you might expect. Common themes return in cinnamon, raisin, sherry, orange and leather. There’s a whiff of sulphur present too, which was there in the 12 and 15 but hardly worth mentioning.
The body is where most of my complaints present themselves. I often find with sherried whiskies that as they age, it’s almost like the fruity flavors become ‘riper’, much like a real fruit would if left to age. That’s what’s happened here, to my tastes. All of the numerous fruity flavors have become richer and riper, and that has caused the taste to become overall a little less interesting. Still very sweet thanks to the fruit and cinnamon flavors, but missing some of the grain that I liked with the 12 in particular. Damp oak is quite strong in the latter part of the tasting, with some grassiness and spice. It is also lightly peated, like the 15. Unfortunately, the sulphur is present again in the taste, but not so much as to be off putting.
The finish is dry chocolate, orange, slightly bitter in keeping with the sulphur.
This one might suit some people but I found it to be not as enjoyable as their 15 year old.
Glendronach 18 Information
Type: 18 year old single malt Scotch whisky