Grandeur is a term that refers to the quality of being grand or impressive in size, appearance, or manner. It often implies a sense of splendour or magnificence, and is often used to describe things that are grand in scale or opulence. Grandeur can be applied to a wide range of subjects, from architecture and art to natural landscapes and events. It means something is impressive and awe-inspiring. High-end whisky is often associated with grandeur due to its luxurious and refined nature. Premium and aged whiskies, in particular, are often described as having a sense of grandeur due to their complex and rich flavours, as well as the impressive appearance of their bottles and packaging. GlenDronach distillery used Grandeur as the name of one of their expressions from the Special & Limited Releases range, so let’s see with this GlenDronach Grandeur batch 9 if the qualificative is deserved.
GlenDronach Grandeur 24-year-old Batch 9 Review
This ninth batch of GlenDronach Grandeur features a 24-year-old age statement. Rachel Barrie, GlenDronach’s master blender, selected a few Spanish oak sherry casks, with whisky distilled in 1990, 1992 and 1993, to compose this Grandeur batch 9. It gave an outturn of 1487 bottles filled at 48.7%, without colouring nor chill filtration. Release price was about €600 in France and £450 in the UK. Expect to pay twice to thrice as much if you want one now…
Old oak. Small beads need ages to change to slow descending thin legs.
Neat: Initial notes of rancio, dried fruit such as plums, dates, and figs. The sherry notes are elegant and nutty, with hints of hazelnuts and walnuts. The tobacco notes are prominent, with a blend of pipe tobacco, cigar tobacco, and tobacco leaves. Then, old leather and armchair notes, whilst mulled wine spice, sandalwood, and chestnut provide an inviting warmth. There are also hints of nutmeg, clove, and fresh liquorice and mint in the background. As the whisky sits, more subtle notes of orange peel, dark chocolate, and shortbread can be detected. The nose is rich and never-ending, with an abundance of flavours and aromas to discover over time.
With water: With the addition of a few drops of water, the nose reveals even more complexity. At first, there are some additional fresh notes that emerge, adding a brighter and more vibrant element to the aroma. The oak and tobacco notes then come back, as well as the orange peel notes, adding a touch of citrus to the mix.
Neat: The texture is incredibly soft and supple on the tongue, with a slight tingling sensation that quickly spreads throughout the mouth, causing an increase in saliva production. It feels as if the liquid in the mouth has doubled in volume after a short time. The flavours are equally impressive, with cherries, raspberries, oranges, and grapefruit providing a burst of fruitiness. White pepper adds a bit of spice whilst dark chocolate, marzipan, and Darjeeling tea provide some richness. Espresso and hint of brown sugar add a touch of bitterness, whilst peppermint chocolate brings a surprising freshness to the mix. Then, vanilla and honey add a touch of sweetness, liquorice brings more freshness, and roasted nuts provide a nutty side as well. Finally, some wood notes are also present, soft and subtle.
With the addition of water, the dark berries, orange peel, and old cognac notes become more prominent. Oak spices and liquorice root also become more pronounced, as well as the after-eight notes.
It is very long, warming, and spicy, with an intensity and elegance that is unmatched. The sherry influence, which has ripened for at least 24 years, really shines at the finish line, playing one ace after the other. The dry and dark sherry notes, pepper, black cherries, rich dark chocolate with mint (after-eight), juicy raisins, orange oil, burnt caramel, Christmas spices, roasted almonds, espresso, and intense oak spice dominate the finish, leaving a lasting impression on the palate. Finally, there is a very slight dryness and subtle bitterness on the palate, with warmth that lingers for ages in the throat.
The nose of this Glendronach Grandeur batch 9 is complex and layered, and the addition of a few drops of water reveals even more complexity. The palate is honestly a true delight, with a beautiful mouthfeel underlining a festival of elegant flavours. The never-ending finish, usually something I’m having more difficulty to describe, was here again providing a fantastic array of everlasting flavours. Several minutes after a sip, I still had those flavours dancing on my tongue and a soft warmth in my throat. The name Grandeur clearly has not been usurped, it definitely deserves it.