Tag Archive: Glenrothes

Glenrothes: Whisky Maker’s Cut (Scottish Speyside Single Malt Whisky: 48.8% ABV)

Visual: Very dark, deep rich gold colour. Fast thick streaks come from the spirit.

Nose: Big. Treacle. Wisps of smoke. Tingling alcohol. Warm honey. Vanilla toffee. Cardamom spice. Nutmeg. Strawberry hints. Ginger. Cinnamon sticks to mulled spice. Apple. Gingerbread. Water adds toffee and fudge and a cleaner character. Lots of dry sherry. Grapes.

Body: Thick. Warming. Black cherry. Apple pie centres. Strawberry. wisp of smoke and dry peat. Dry meat to dry beef slices. Fudge. Cloves. Bitter red wine. Water adds lots of strawberries. Orange peel and orange crème. Treacle.

Finish: Cinnamon sticks. Cloves. Slightly numbing. Liquorice. Strawberry liqueur. Black cherry. Fortified red wine. Dried beef slices. Sulphur. Candle wax. Water adds orange crème and bitter chocolate.

Conclusion: Glenrothes is often overlooked it my opinion. Despite not often being peated (to the best of my knowledge) it often has this lightly smokey, dried meat touch that I would normally associate with peat but layered into a smooth and sweet spirit. It is a criminally overlooked distillery.

This takes that base idea, and punches it out at a higher abv and a just exploding level of sherry influence. Neat it is numbing, spicy and shows bitter red wine matched with mulled spice notes, underlined by a sulphurous wax candle touch. It is utterly huge, overwhelming but delicious. There are those wisps of smoke and dried meat I mentioned before, that I could swear calls to peat use if it wasn’t for a quick google suggesting I am probably wrong. However they are made they still manage to poke their way through the bigger flavours

Water smooths it out, it is still has sulphur and wax notes but the hinted at dark fruit and sherry that was there neat now take centre stage. There are lots of strawberry and black cherry notes, lots of evident dry sherry. This feels like the epitome of a sherry bomb, sherry aged whisky and the higher abv gives lots of room for water play.

This is sticky feeling, full flavoured and full bore. It reminds me of Aberlour A’bunadh in that it can be a bit much neat, though admittedly this is more restrained and at a lower abv – however it is a rewarding roller-coaster onslaught of flavour if you stick with it.

Very sherried, very red fruit, very spiced neat – less so with water, and just a hint of smoke. Subtle this is not, but very enjoyable it is.

Background: This was a gift from a colleague at work, very many thanks! It is listed as being bottled at abv chosen by the master whisky maker, not to be confused with cask strength, but significantly higher than a standard bottling. It has been matured in only first fill sherry casks. It comes in a showy little cardboard box as you can see, with a little plastic stand inside propping up the bottle inside it for best presentation. I went with Crossfaith: The Dream, the Space as backing music – while not their best album it has a lot of raw, early album energy.


Glenrothes 2001

Glenrothes: 2001 (Scottish Speyside Single Malt Whisky: 12 Year: 43% ABV)

Visual: Slightly bronzed gold.

Viscosity: Very slow but comes down as a sheet.

Nose: Black cherry. Black forest gateaux. Forest fruits. Honey. Brambles. Caramel shortbread. Creamy chocolate. Thick and slightly musky. Water adds custards slices and slight pepper.

Body: Thick and syrupy. Golden syrup. Strong alcohol. Blueberry pie. Woody oak influence. Slight tannins. Water makes smoother – vanilla custard on blueberry. Red cherries and slight apples. Toffee. Malt drinks and whipped cream.

Finish: Wood. Toffee and honey. Slight gooseberry. Slight tannins. Water makes for forest fruit, light musty smoke. Slight musty air and charring. Malt drinks and slight bitter chocolate.

Conclusion: This is such a fruity whisky – with very natural feeling fruitiness. It feels like a mashed up barrel of dark fruit; There is that musty air, and a feel akin to that hairy fuzz you get on berries. Then sweetens so it is like deep amounts of forest fruit coated in golden syrup.

Not all of that is immediately evident – the aroma does give a good show, but on sipping it is a bit alcohol heavy resulting on a drier, less open whisky. Water is what brings out all the dark fruit you were promised – now smoothly delivered, with a whisky that feels dark in all things. From slight charring, malt drinks and slight bitter chocolate it all gives that coherent, complementary imagery. With the creamy notes it all comes together like a black-forest gateaux – the whisky. A very nice look, with just a few hints towards the brighter, shaper green fruit to freshen it up.

With water it is very luxurious, thick, creamy and filled with flavour. It plays in the same realm as the Dalmore whiskies for flavour. Always a good thing to be compared to in my opinion. It is very much worth trying – it doesn’t quite have the unique twist to be one of my favourites and a must try. However it is about as good as a whisky can be without reaching that level.

It is a dark alcohol dessert for delectation in decadent environs. Treat yourself with this one.

Background: Glenrothes have always been an odd one – the vast majority of their output I have seen has been vintage based names, rather than list by age. An interesting habit. In this case I am fairly sure I tried the 2001 at one of Independent Spirit’s tasting sessions. But I was quite drunk on whisky so I am not 100% sure. Any which way The Tasting Rooms had this 100ml bottling of it, so I decided to grab it and see if it was the tasty one from my memories. Drunk while listening to the Black Lagoon anime OST for a mix of light relaxing and high octane background music

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.

Glenrothes Select Reserve (Scottish Speyside Single Malt Whisky: No Age Statement: 43% ABV)

Visual: Light gold.

Viscosity: A few fast streaks but then many slow streaks pucker and ease their way down the glass.

Nose: Light delicious peat and sweetness. Smoke. Simple and pleasant.

Body: Sweet, vanilla. Syrup and peat. Moderate oak influence. Bit of burnt elements. Light wonderful middle and heather.

Finish: Peat, smoke and burnt oak.

Conclusion: This is simple and effective. A big but not overpowering dose of peat in a light whisky. I can’t call it complex but I can call it satisfying.

Not as successful at marrying the lighter whisky to the peat as the interesting 25 year Ardmore tasted earlier, but then again the price difference between the two is significant so that is to be expected, and for its price point this is a damn fine expression of the type.

Lets round off by saying this is a whisky commonly enjoyed half way through the evening at the Royal Oak and it always stands its ground, which should speak volumes for it.

(Note: I messed up the whisky glass photo so I’m afraid the bottle photo will have to do…)

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