The bottle in hand for today’s review is a rather surprising ‘seasonal’ release from The GlenDronach distillery.  GlenDronach Peated Port Wood is a rare example of Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky, made in the ‘old style’, from malted barley dried with Highland peat.

According to the distillery; GlenDronach Peated Port Wood is inspired by the historical import of casked port into Scotland during the nineteenth century.  The GlenDronach whisky maker hand-selected and expertly combined port pipes from the Douro Valley in Portugal and the peated spirit has undergone a final maturation in these port pipes.

Rachel Barrie, The GlenDronach Whisky Maker, commented:

“The GlenDronach Peated Port Wood may be considered a surprising expression from this distillery but in keeping with historical styles. Peat imbues the spirit with regional notes of wood smoke and smouldering charcoal, layered over The GlenDronach’s archetypal fruitiness.

On the nose you can enjoy wild strawberries dusted with cinnamon sugar and crisp, tart cranberry juice, ooded with waves of Highland smoke, sweetening to a red berry compote, with rich, stewed barley and lingering, smouldering charcoal on the palate.”

The GlenDronach Peated Port Wood is a NAS (Non-Age Statement) product that comes at 46% ABV. It is non-chill filtered and available in its natural colour. Available on The Whisky Exchange website.

The GlenDronach Peated Port Wood Whisky Tasting Notes

Color: Amber colour with pinkish highlights.

Nose: Soft, fruity sweetness veiled with subtle smoke. Ripe berries and plums drizzled with a light, brown sugar/caramel syrup. Vanilla along with some wood spices. Smoke is more floral than woody, like a bonfire in a meadow. Some fresh, tangy notes, a touch of orange oil, in the background.

Palate: Oily and thick, almost like a syrup. Short sweet start with berries, plums, and peaches, interrupted by peppery spiciness and wood smoke. Over the time the smoke itself transforms into a somewhat lighter and sweeter version whereas the subdued fruit sweetness reappear. Bitter notes of dark chocolate and dry, charred oak come out near the end.

Finish: Medium finish. Spice and smoke leave behind a dry and bitter aftertaste.

In my opinion, Highland peat has a smoother and sweeter influence than its Islay cousin. This makes it works better with sweeter finishes like sherry and port. What I think about The GlenDronach Peated Port Wood is that; it will be the victim of prejudice as most GlenDronach fans will approach it, expecting the usual Sherry-bomb style and will somehow be disappointed.  Did I enjoy this dram? Absolutely. It is a good ‘sweet peat’ alternative. Will the GlenDronach fans love it? I doubt it.