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Monday 1 December 2014

The Ultimate Christmas Spirit - Part 1

Apologies for the lengthy absence. Both of us have been travelling extensively, all in the name of Spirits Exploration and we have come out the other side, blinking in the December sunlight, filled with knowledge from the world of fine, well crafted spirits. 

As it’s the first of the month (assume you all have your Master Of Malt Advent calendars… if not, get cracking and play catch up!) we’ve decided to take a leisurely look at the spirits you should be drinking this Christmas. 

We start off with a definitive winter warmer; something to ease you into the month helping banish any chills you may be experiencing and set up your palate firmly for the numerous log-fired, lazy family filled holiday dates that are coming later this month. 

The spirit in question is a whisky. It’s name is Glendronach and for those in-the-know, it’s a distillery that in recent years has begun to excel at producing hugely powerful-yet complex sherry cask monsters - but for a fraction of the price of a 'Marque' brand like Macallan. This particular bottling was selected by our friend David Margulies, owner of the Grapevine retail website and it’s an absolute cracker…

GlenDronach – 1994 Vintage – Pedro Ximinez Sherry Puncheon – 52.1% - Cask No: 279 (£80)

Nose: An initial hit of rich caramel toffee, some woody spice and then a syrupy fig/raisin laden fruit cake. The spices are amplified with a little water and the sherry notes become slightly sweeter – more like bonfire toffee, with a Manuka honey topping. 

Palate: Much like the nose, the dried fruit, spice and drying oak come through on the first wave, with a very sticky, unctuous mouthfeel.  With water, the sherry becomes more dominant and the spice a little more pronounced, but for us, this is absolutely superb straight, at its full 52.1%.

Finish: Lingering notes of toffee, oaky spice and raisins.

Overall: A stellar sherry cask choice, highlighting that for the money, there’s plenty more options out there than just diving in with the big bucks for a massively well known brand costing twice the price.