Initial impressions after being opened for a month.
Nose: Mix of ripe tree fruit both fresh and dried, dry woody sherry, sweet vanilla, and toffee.
Flavor: Dried tree fruit, honey, dry sherry, wood.
Comment: I need to give this more time--so far it shows little resemblance to earlier versions that I've tried in that it is drier, woodier, and without the same degree of richness in flavor and body and has yet to reveal chocolate and fig notes that I associate with earlier versions. Though not a bad whisky at all, it's disappointing compared to the 2017 and 2018 versions. If it opens up, I'll re-review it and change my score. For now, I'll give it an 82 and will seek out older bottles.
Two months later:
The aroma seems to have opened up--I get rich chocolate, caramel, and sherry which is followed by dried fruit.
On the palate, it is still medium-light in body, not rich like the Billy Walker and 2019 bottlings. Pleasant flavors of dried fruit and restrained sherry. Both the nose and palate are a little woodier than earlier versions, though this is not unpleasant. It is not a bad whisky by any means, but I suspect that both older AND 1st fill sherry casks are being held back for other bottlings. At this point, I think it is an 84-85, mainly because the aroma is quite good.
4 months after opening:
Basically, this is hotter, has less depth, and has a shorter finish than the 2019 bottling. RIP Glendronach 18 Allardice? I may give the 2021 version a try, but for now buy the 2019 and earlier.