Pincer Vodka vs Glendronach Virgin Oak

Pincer v Glendronach 14 Virgin

Pincer Vodka beats Glendronach 14 virgin oak in a duel

Vodka on EWB again! Just over a month ago, our guest blogger, Joe, reviewed Chase Vodka on the Blog. This continues Edinburgh Whisky Blog’s branching out into other booze. Sure, whisky is our first love, but since discovering it, we have discovered other loves (rum, beer, wine). Admittedly, vodka for the most part is something we are not huge fans of. The reason is that it is by and large mass produced filtered grain spirit, with little to no taste and it is essentially only a success due to marketing.

Chase snuck on to the blog due to the fact it is family run, small batch and they do cool flavours. That and they have a good story. I really enjoyed their smoked vodka and their marmalade vodka.

The other day, I got given a tasting sample of Pincer Vodka. I really don’t know much about it, except that it is a Scottish Vodka infused with milk thistle and elderflower. It blew me away. I had such low expectations, and it exceeded them with aplomb. It tastes like wine gums and fruit pastels. I can drink it straight, which I really can’t say of many vodka brands.

The Pincer surprised me in a good way, and this is why it beats the Glendronach 14 Virgin Oak finish. I had high expectations for this Glendronach. I think sometimes my high expectations come from their association to Ben Riach (a distillery with a very strong range). The standard Glendronach range is ok, but the real gems are in the single casks. I actually don’t hugely enjoy the 15 or the 18; they are fine, but not brilliant. Even so, I did have high expectations for this bottling. Virgin Oak finishes are normally quite interesting. This one had sweetness, but also astringency and oakiness. It just wasn’t that great. Generally not sweet enough, or gutsy enough. It wasn’t bad, but that almost damns it with faint praise. It was just a bit meh and that’s the problem. Different levels of expectation mean it lost in this duel, and to crazy vodka.

Overall: Buy a bottle of Pincer; it’s mental, tasty and not too expensive.

If you happen to see one of the single cask Glendronach’s about cheap, then they are generally lovely. And the 12 is really nice for an entry level malt.

Finally: Don’t worry loyal readers; vodka beating whisky won’t be a regular occurrence.

Chris Hoban


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