Dram Initiative #19 – GlenDronach with J Wheelock
February 19th, 2015
GlenDronach Single Cask Experience, Tasting & Music Pairing
This was truly a night of nights, nine cask strength distillery editions; five of which were bottled for stores here in Alberta. This is how we, at the Dram Initiative, roll. Sure, we just celebrated Valentine’s Day but what better way to celebrate VD than to fill your heart with a deep, warming red sherry afterglow that will cuddle you, without judgments, for hours. To heighten the night’s drinking pleasure, the Glendronach whisky was expertly paired with sherried music. We believe this to be a world’s first or, at the very least, a world’s best.
With the high cask strength of the spirit, all members at the door signed liability waivers before gaining entry. Anybody with a heart condition, fan of ‘I Love NAS Whiskies’, or a dislike for the Irish, was denied admittance.
Sherry is to GlenDronach, as happiness is to life and therefore, GlenDronach is essential to the life of the Irish. This neglected sherry superstar distillery, which rivaled Macallan & Glenfarclas, is now thriving again under the new ownership of Mr. Billy Walker and Company. In my not so humble opinion, GlenDronach has taken its place, yet again, as one of the premiere sherried whiskies in the world.
To better understand the distillery and its people, we called upon the always entertaining and fabulous, “JJ” Jamming J Wheelock to be our spirit guide for this sherry shindig. Whisky enthusiasts consider Mr. Wheelock to be one of the great whisky ambassadors in the industry today; a gifted speaker who possesses a James Bond swagger, an angelic monk aura and has industry knowledge second to none.
After talking about the distillery, its people and its rich history, Mr. Wheelock took us by the dram and led us down a path of sherry cask illumination.
The first flight of two whiskies was skillfully paired with Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons – “Sherry Baby”………………….“Sherry, Sherry baby, Sherry, Sherry baby, Sherry can you come out tonight, Come, come, come out tonight, Sherry baby, Sherry baby”
1) Glendronach 2003 KWM Cask #1820 / 11 Years Old Pedro Ximenez Sherry Puncheon 55.4%
2) Glendronach 2003 Liquor Depot Cask #4007 / 11 Years Old Pedro Ximenez Sherry Puncheon 54.8%
After both whiskies were tasted blind, a vote was taken to decide the better of the two 2003 store casks currently available. The winner was cask #4007 Liquor Depot/Wine and Beyond, with 62% of the popular vote and Kensington Wine Market cask #1820 not far behind with 38%.
The second encounter, which involved three whiskies that were adeptly paired with Journey & Steve Perry – “Oh Sherry” ……………..“Oh, Sherry, But I should’ve been gone, Long ago, far away, And you should’ve been gone, Now I know just why you stay, Oh, Sherry, our love, Holds on, holds on, Oh, Sherry”
3) Glendronach 1993 KWM Cask #1625 / 20 Years Old Oloroso Sherry Butt 57.5%
4) Glendronach 1994 Liquor Depot Cask #1503 / 17 Years Old Oloroso Sherry Puncheon 54.9%
5) Glendronach 1995 Liquor Depot Cask #5959 / 18 Years Old Tawny Port Pipe 53.6%
After these three whiskies, ranging from 1993-1995 were sampled, another vote was taken. Surprisingly and shocking (well, not too shocking) the vote was almost a three way split. Each cask was well received by the unwashed masses, which evoked a great amount of discussion. Given how vastly different these whiskies tasted, the point could be made that the taste of sherried whisky is a very personal thing.
The third arrangement of four whiskies was shrewdly paired with Neil Diamond –
“Sherry, Sherry”*** ………………………….“Won’t need bright lights, no, no we won’t, Gonna make our own lightning, Hey, she got the way to move me, Sherry, She got the way to groove me, Sherry, baby”
***When the tasting test subjects were given GlenDronach cask strength whisky, nobody noticed or cared about the minor oversight of Cherry vs. Sherry, also since Mr. Diamond wrote the song “red, red wine”, we thought he’d be cool with this.
6) Glendronach 2002 Batch 10 Release Cask #1500 / 12 Years Old Pedro Ximenez Sherry Puncheon 56.7%
7) Glendronach 1991 Batch 10 Release Cask #1346 / 22 Years Old Pedro Ximenez Sherry Puncheon 52.1%
8) Glendronach 1994 Batch 10 Release Cask #326 / 19 Years Old Pedro Ximenez Sherry Puncheon 53.5%
9) Glendronach 1994 Batch 10 Release Cask #3397 / 19 Years Old Pedro Ximenez Sherry Puncheon 53.8%
These last four of nine whiskies were tasted and enjoyed in the sequence listed without a vote.
When it comes to Sherry matured or finished whisky, can anybody surpass GlenDronach right now? Wow, where others have out-priced and over-marketed, GlenDronach has exceeded most whisky geeks’ expectations.
Shout out to … Authentic Wine & Spirits Merchants & Kieu-Trinh Phan, thank you for your exceedingly lavish donation, along with releasing the Wheelock for the evening … Liquor Depot & Ryan Engen for your very generous donation … and Kensington Wine and Spirits & Andrew Ferguson for your kind contribution. Thank you all for your support in the ongoing struggle to get free whisky.
To Mr. Wheelock, what can I say, other than, you complete us and enable us, or simply, you just completely enable us! Total respect, and thank you from the bottom of our sherried filled bellies.
At last it is time to raise the friendly castle’s drawbridge, put the furniture away and thank all the members for coming out in force, after all, nobody should drink alone!
Your Humble Drudge,
wait, I thought the winning drams of the night were all KWM? But hey I didn’t even wash my hands, so my memory is probably equally stained lol
Oh that I could have been there. I’m a sherried whisky fan and have been for some time now. Glendronach, perhaps not surprisingly is my favorite distillery by a wide margin at the moment. At last count I have 15 sealed bottles of varying types in my collection and I can hardly wait to have more. My visit to Calgary brought me 3 of those bottles (along with two of BenRiach’s, the parent company of sorts).
My sole joy in being in Manitoba is that we miraculously brought in an exclusive 17 year old single cask PX finish and I was able to secure four of them. If I could marry a distillery, I’d marry Glendronach.
Loved the write up as well. I had no idea that sherry was an Irish thing and perhaps it explains my love of Glendronach. When my uncle traced back the family history, it appears the clan was kicked out of Scotland for stealing (I said stealing) and spent some generations in Ireland before a brief stop in England and on to Canada. Some waters run deep it seems.