Sherry in cocktail culture has become quite popular in recent years, with bars embracing it as a cocktail ingredient and mainstream outlets such as GQ (The Best New Mixer Is a Very Old Wine) and the New York Times (The King of Sherry Cocktails) offering articles on the subject.
Which brings us to sherried scotch whisky, that is, scotch whisky that has been matured in barrels that once held sherry. Sherried scotch is a relative rarity these days due to scarcity and the high cost of procuring sherry barrels from Spain, but we are fortunate to have a distillery in the Anchor Distilling portfolio that exemplifies the style with The GlenDronach.
In the above video, Distilleries Manager Alan McConnochie explains the “classic” GlenDronach style, as well as how sherry barrels influence production and the final product.
The GlenDronach was originally founded in 1826, and the whisky it produced was highly sought after to be used in blends, much like its sister distillery The BenRiach. In 2008, The BenRiach Distillery Co. Ltd. acquired The GlenDronach with ambitious plans to revitalize the distillery after decades of lacking an identity due to ownership changes caused by industry acquisitions.
Michael Jackson’s Complete Guide to Single Malt Whisky sums up the current state of affairs at The GlenDronach well, saying:
“The new owners are the same team that has so magnificently restored the fortunes and offerings of Benriach. Fronted by the irrepressible Billy Walker, they look set to restore this distillery to all its magnificent sherried glory…His stated intent to restore Glendronach’s reputation for bold, sherried whiskies has certainly been borne out by the first releases under the new regime.”
In the video below, Master Blender Billy Walker provides some insights into how his history working with The GlenDronach in the 1960s gave him unique insight into the distillery’s potential, as well as just how rare true sherried single malt scotch has become.