Andy Gemmell’s

Drinks Cab­i­net

The Herald on Sunday - Sunday Herald Life - - Food and Drink -

The 18-year-old Al­lardice Sherry Cask bot­tling has been 100% ma­tured in oloroso casks giv­ing it bags of deep flavours and aro­mas such as dark choco­late

Glen­dronach Dis­tillery Forge, Huntly

His­tory: The Glen­dronach Dis­tillery Com­pany was founded in 1826 by a group of farm­ers headed by busi­nes­man James Al­lardice who built the dis­tillery, which is in the glen of Forgue, in the east High­land hills. It is one of the old­est dis­til­leries and has been fa­mous for cre­at­ing sher­ried sin­gle malts for nearly 200 years. Al­lardice was a re­lent­less sales­man, and es­tab­lished Glen­dronach whisky in Ed­in­burgh by giv­ing out drams to ‘ladies of the night’ in the Can­non­gate, and soon ev­ery pub along the Royal Mile had a bot­tle of Glen­dronach on its shelves. In 1837 a fire de­stroyed the place and five years later Al­lardice was bank­rupt. Over the next 150 years the dis­tillery changed hands sev­eral times be­fore in 1960 Wil­liam Teacher & Sons took con­trol and ex­panded the num­ber of stills from two to four. They used Glen­dronach in their blended Teacher’s. Two years ago it was bought by Amer­i­can spirit com­pany Brown-For­man as part of a deal which in­cluded The BenRi­ach Dis­tillery.

The Whisky: Glen­dronach has a rep­u­ta­tion for be­ing a “sherry mon­ster” – the term given to a dram that has been heav­ily in­flu­enced by sherry casks when ma­tur­ing. How­ever its pre­vi­ous own­ers may have used more bour­bon casks, slightly chang­ing the house style but its new own­ers have promised to keep sherry cask mat­u­ra­tion (in par­tic­u­lar Oloroso Sherry casks) as their main flavour pro­file.

Favourite Dram: They have a great range but I love their 18-year-old Al­lardice Sherry Cask bot­tling, which has been 100% ma­tured in oloroso sherry casks giv­ing it bags of deep flavours and aro­mas such as dark choco­late, cherry and candied or­ange.

Why Visit? You can visit Huntly cas­tle or even pop into Knock­dhu Dis­tillery for a cou­ple more drams while you are here. They of­fer tours and I would ad­vise phon­ing ahead to book your space. The ba­sic tour takes you through the his­tory and process of cre­at­ing their sin­gle malt, see­ing first-hand the meth­ods that have been in use for nearly 200 years. This tour costs £5 and they will give you a dram to take home if you are driv­ing.

In­ter­est­ing fact: Oloroso sherry has its ori­gins in the south west of Spain in Jerez. It is a for­ti­fied wine that is aged in oak bar­rels for up to 30 years and be­yond. These bar­rels are then used by the Scotch in­dus­try to age the whisky. They are more ex­pen­sive than bour­bon bar­rels but give it a much darker colour and add a deeper and nut­tier flavour pro­file.

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