GlenDronach 2012 Whisky Present Australia Cask Bottling | Malt






I like whisky present.

Hopefully you understand the kind I’m referring to: a big convention area, often in a lodge, with shows from exhibitors across the outdoors of the room and down the center. Hopefully a number of dozen completely different bottlers or distilleries on tasting, every with three or 4 bottles open to pattern. Put these components into place, and I’m in for time.

And that, of us, is the important thing to all this: time. Returning dwelling after my first whisky present, in 2017, I used to be on an unlimited excessive from the sheer enjoyment of all of it; the chat with fellow patrons and exhibitors, the looking of the bottles on supply within the present retailer, the possibility to pattern dozens of various whiskies. I used to be instantly addicted.

There are a small handful of exhibits that tour Australia, and I attempt to get to one in all them yearly. I’ve seen the fee has spiked in the previous couple of years, and this will have an effect on my choice whether or not to attend. Mentioned right here would be the 2023 Melbourne model of the aptly named, The Whisky Present. I bought a ticket again on the second of February throughout a short 25% off sale, that means I used to be in a position to attend for precisely $100 Australian {dollars}.

On the Saturday morning of The Whisky Present, I awakened refreshed after not having touched a drop of alcohol since Tuesday night time. After-work drinks with my boss prolonged later that I’d anticipated and I assumed it most likely greatest, with Saturday’s festivities looming, to purify the physique for a couple of days beforehand. My spouse had supplied to take a flip to drive our eldest baby to her basketball sport, so I had ample time to slot in a exercise in our storage whereas my youngest watched the iPad upstairs. My idea was, with an inexpensive quantity of bodily injury due later within the day, to have some credit banked.

The session I had a ticket for ran from midday to 4 PM. Fairly a couple of exhibits solely do 3-hour or 3.5-hour classes, due to this fact I knew I had greater than sufficient time to get to all of the shows I needed to. Like several whisky present veteran, I had analysed the checklist of exhibitors beforehand to earmark what I completely needed to pattern early within the session. Then I made a tough checklist of what I might afford to get to a little bit afterward and what, in all honesty, I used to be most likely going to skip altogether.

The redoubtable and eminently wise Adam Wells wrote on this website that he makes use of spittoons at whisky exhibits to keep away from extreme inebriation. I can not do that. I don’t get the identical enjoyment or expertise with out sending the pattern down the outdated gullet. Due to this fact, I do know my recollection and appreciation of the drams I’ll pattern later within the present might be restricted.

In no unsure phrases, this write up is not going to be a complete overview of every part the present needed to supply. I’ll break it down into three classes primarily based on my private, subjective expertise.

The Good

This part would be the longest, as I skipped tables that didn’t attraction (really, I now want I had checked out Jura; it’s been too lengthy). Rating extremely was The Rolling Cask exhibit. TRC are a web-based spirits retailer primarily based in Sydney and the primary desk I sampled. On tasting have been a 15 12 months outdated Glen Elgin, 14 12 months outdated Glenrothes, and 10 12 months outdated peated Glenturret (Ruadh Mor). The TRC labels are all placing and imaginative. The Glen Elgin was my favorite of the three, however all have been fine quality.

Subsequent in The Good, we’ve GlenDronach. I bear in mind not that way back GlenDronach would flip as much as these exhibits with their 15, 18, and 21 12 months olds all out there for sampling. Not so this time, as that they had a 12 12 months outdated, and no age assertion Port Wooden and Peated for sampling. I’ve seen chat within the whisky group about GlenDronach’s current skyrocketing costs, which could clarify the winding again of the standard of samples on the present. Be that as it might, I nonetheless did get pleasure from all three samples effectively sufficient, together with a 2012 single cask The Whisky Present unique… however extra on that later.

Additionally reaching my approval have been Starward, who don’t do issues by halves, with a powerful show and 4 whiskies on tasting: a Muscat Cask, Ginger Beer cask, Stout cask, and a restricted launch to have fun their 15th 12 months, the Vitalis (pretentiously?) named after Starward’s founder David Vitale, although I can’t blame him. If I’d based a distillery of worldwide renown, you’d see my identify on a couple of releases too. The employees member on the Starward stand joked with me that he was stunned David hadn’t positioned an image of his face on the label. Starward have been additionally giving out these pins which I fortunately grabbed, however now do not know what to do with.

Lastly, although there are extra I might embody, I’ll place the ever-popular Bruichladdich on this part. On tasting that they had the 2013 Islay Barley and 2013 Port Charlotte Islay Barley, Port Charlotte 10 12 months outdated, and the Traditional Laddie, in addition to Octomore 13.1 and 13.2, a beneficiant choice and all effectively obtained.

Apologies to Cotswold’s, The Whisky Checklist bottlings (a ten 12 months outdated Ben Nevis and an in-house coastal mix), and Penelope Bourbon, which I additionally loved on the day.

The Dangerous

Solely a pair to notice right here. Firstly, to the organisers of the present: it’s essential to present some complimentary meals to patrons! That is the primary present I’ve attended the place we didn’t obtain something to eat in a present bag upon coming into. Water was plentiful and I definitely drank a good quantity, however the catering consisted of toasted sandwiches beginning at $13. In case you aren’t aware of Australian pricing, that’s foolish. I used to be glad I had grabbed one thing earlier than I left dwelling to satiate my starvation.

Subsequent, on the Glasgow 1770 exhibit they have been sampling a blended malt referred to as Malt Riot. The one riot can be from disillusioned patrons who sampled this tasteless concoction. The exhibitors virtually appeared apologetic and urged it may be good for a mixer.

The Ugly

Hellyer’s Highway are an establishment in Australian whisky. Nevertheless, the lad pouring samples will need to have left his widespread sense at dwelling that day. It’s well-known at these exhibits that some tables can have one thing particular stashed away to drag out at times and pour for appreciative patrons. Hellyer’s Highway did have an older bottling for discretionary tasting, nevertheless it sat out on the tabletop and after I noticed it poured for 3 or 4 fellow patrons, the rep refused to pour it for the particular person standing subsequent to me. I caught round briefly out of real curiosity to see if I might charge a pour, however shortly determined to maneuver on (not earlier than grabbing handful of whisky fudge). A message for Hellyer’s Highway – you can not pour a dram in plain sight of different patrons after which refuse them a pour. That is terribly poor type. Such issues ought to solely be achieved on the down low (and hopefully with me receiving the dram).

Lastly, Waterford, Mark Reynier’s nice journey into proving terroir in whisky. I had marked Waterford down as a desk to get to early, and so I did. Third cab off the rank I imagine. I’ve at all times been much less within the reply to the query “can whisky exhibit terroir?”, than I’m “however how does it style?” I’ve adopted their progress and had hoped the unique founding father of Malt, Mark Newton (now working in advertising for Waterford) would possibly’ve made the journey all the way down to Australia to attend the present.

That wasn’t to be, however they did have 4 bottles to style: the Cuvée (a mix of barley from 25 farms), the Gaia (Eire’s first organically licensed whisky), the Luna (the world’s first solely biodynamic whisky) and the peated Fenniscourt. I began with the Cuvée and stopped useless in my tracks after I took my first sniff: a distinctly disagreeable maritime scent. If something, it smelt like chum that fisherman throw within the water to draw fish to catch. Fish entrails and rotting seaweed; fairly the flavour profile.

It translated accordingly to the palate, and I struggled to complete my pattern earlier than gulping down water to alleviate the scenario. Issues picked up a little bit with the Gaia, which I assumed was bland sufficient to be innocent. The Luna displayed sufficient character to be nice and the Fenniscourt was the spotlight of the group with its frivolously peated nature.

I’d like to champion Waterford and rebut a number of the social media discourse which may be… unkind… however primarily based on this tasting, I can’t get there. I’d fortunately sit down with a bottle of the Cuvée and cross my fingers that first impressions have been mistaken, however at round $150, my cash is healthier spent elsewhere. Hopefully they flip up on the subsequent present I attend so I can have a second go spherical within the ring.

The Evaluate

I had earmarked the GlenDronach single cask as a potential buy earlier than I attended the present. I used to be tempted mightily by the Rolling Cask releases however, in the end, the possibility to purchase GlenDronach single casks doesn’t come spherical that always down right here in Australia… and when it does, the youthful, extra reasonably priced bottles promote out shortly. I haven’t owned a single cask GlenDronach for a couple of years now.

The GlenDronach rep had a quiet phrase in my ear that they solely had round 22 bottles on the market. I’m not certain if that was per session or for all the present, however after I wandered again to the shop solely 4 or 5 bottles have been left. I secured mine for $210 and shortly afterwards they have been bought out. $210 is correct on what you’d count on to pay today for a single cask GlenDronach, so pricing isn’t unfair.

GlenDronach 2012 Whisky Present Australia Cask Bottling – Evaluate

656 bottles produced from an Oloroso puncheon. Distilled 5 June 2012, bottled in 2022. Cask no. 937. 60.5% ABV.

Color: Deep gold.

On the nostril: Distinctly leathery, like an outdated polished shoe. Syrupy peaches, dates, and honey. Some bark. An surprising saltiness that resolves into salted caramel, which makes extra sense. Then a robust shot of black espresso and darkish chocolate. Very inviting.

Within the mouth: Mulled wine very strongly and cinnamon, baked pears drizzled with maple syrup, caramel fudge. Heat strawberry jam donuts. Orange peel and in addition beef inventory. Fairly drying on the palate. I add water to open up that massive stonking ABV and get wealthy fruit mince pies and a few oakiness, then additionally gingerbread.


A part of the enjoyment, the general expertise of attending any whisky present is a takeaway memento (one thing extra everlasting than a hangover the subsequent day). This GlenDronach had a hefty value of admission – simply because I name a value not unfair doesn’t imply it’s low cost – and I feel the product delivers on the fee. I instantly need one other pour as quickly as I end my tasting dram, a certain signal a excessive rating is justified.

Rating: 8/10

Thus, one other memorable whisky present expertise within the ebook. The session was bought out however by no means appeared overwhelmingly busy. I didn’t even get to my ideas on BenRiach, Michter’s, Sagamore Rye, and others that have been in attendance.

Thoughts you, my reminiscences of those could also be a little bit hazy.

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