GlenDronach 14 is an interesting release due to the combination of casks. It is initially matured in re-charred European oak puncheons and finished in American virgin oak casks. I assume that the puncheons have been used to mature sherry. The combination of casks can help to answer some questions concerning cask influence.
How much sherry influence do we have from the puncheons?
I find no sherry influence. Since the cask is re-charred, it has probably been used to mature whisky several times sucking the sherry out of the wood. Then the inactive casks have been re-charred, probably removing the remainder of sherry if any at all.
How much European oak characteristics like tannins do we have? Will a re-charred European oak cask have any influence at all?
- Re-charring a cask will boost the vanilla influence, caramelize hydrocarbons and give a smoky influence. The caramelized hydrocarbons will give colour to the whisky. Characteristics like tannins and lactones are depleted and will not be regenerated by charring. The result is that the re-charred casks mainly gives vanilla, sweetness, colour and a minor smoky character to the whisky.
Will an American oak virgin cask give the whisky a bourbon like character?
An American oak virgin cask is the same type of cask used for maturing bourbon. I assume that the cask is charred. The cask gives typical bourbon characteristics like vanilla, coconut and tropical fruits.
The conclusion is that the GlenDronach 14 has many of the characteristics of a bourbon. It is an atypical scotch whisky, and a good alternative to bourbon, swapping corn with barley. GlenDronach 14 can absolutely be recommended.