Single Malts Of Scotland: Glenrothes: Vintage 1989 (Scottish Speyside Single Malt Whisky: 19 Years: 46% ABV)

Visual: Very light grain to banana colour.

Viscosity: Pretty uniform slow descent of spirit in the glass.

Nose: Pencil shavings. Light toffee pavlova. Medium alcohol burn. Grapes mix with a slightly meaty touch. Water lessens the burn but also the main aroma, leaving mainly grapes.

Body: Grapes, both red and white. Some meat, kind off smoked meat platter and peat. Custard sweetness. Water makes more like caramel sweetness and brings out salted meat and more grapes.

Finish: Dried beef slice and smoke. Malt chocolate, and light amounts of bitter chocolate. Smooth in the finish. Slightly salted with water and adds dry wood.

Conclusion: This thing basically shows all the elements I’ve come to enjoy in Glenrothes. There is the peat and meat, lightly done but distinctly present, but here married to a light smooth whisky rather than the heavier beast that usually carry them.

This also uses much more grapes and lighter fruit than the standard Glenrothes, add in a soft toffee sweetness and it makes for a delicate balance that nonetheless works well. Even without the peat I could see this as a very easy drinking Speyside. With the peat it has added weight without stopping being easy to drink. The flavours roam long on the tongue into dry smoke and meat.

While I can’t say it manages to perfectly catch the best elements of Islay and Speyside, frankly such a beast may in fact be an impossible alchemy, it does dance just a bit in heavier whiskies directions, casting a glance every now and then.

A dessert whisky with edge, almost pavlova like at times. Definitely a good whisky to share and savour. I am impressed.

Background: Drunk as one of my many returns to the Rummer Hotel, just before having a fine pieminster pie and then heading off to see Dread at the Cinema. Seriously good environment for relaxing and really enjoying a whisky. Anyway, Glenrothes, a whisky that really impressed me on first meeting, but I’ve not really shown attention to since then. So here is a chance to right that wrong.