I thought I’d keep with the theme of three whiskies from my former life for the second installment of the series and examine The Glenrothes.
The distillery, for those familiar with Scottish geography, is not situated in the Fife town of the same name, but in Rothes, in Moray, which puts it in the Speyside region.
The first spirit flowed from the stills on 28 December 1879, the very same day that 75 people were killed in the Tay Bridge Rail Disaster.
Berry Brothers & Rudd entered into a partnership with The Edrington Group with regards to the single malt brand, the distillery having been a vital part of their Cutty Sark blend for may years. In 1993, the brand released its first bottling of a vintage whisky rather than an age statement one and hasn’t looked back since. In 2010, BB&R decided to sell Cutty Sark to Edrington outright in a swap plus cash deal for The Glenrothes brand (but not the physical distillery which is still owned by Edrington, but who have a long term contact with Berrys to supply spirit for The Glenrothes) – keeping up so far?
The three expression I will be tasting are 3 of the 5 current available vintages, with the two omitted being the 1978 (RRP £650) and the newly released 2001 vintage. Unusually for the brand, the pricing for the latter is such that sales in the UK seem to be intended to be concentrated via Berry Brothers & Rudd themselves rather than other merchants, with them being £10-£15 (around 25%) cheaper than any other retailer I can find. This however may be to balance out the other expressions, which are considerably cheaper elsewhere.
- The Glenrothes 1998 / Bottled 2010 (c. £45)
Colour: Pale gold.
Nose: Massive hit of vanilla and lemon, hints of more tropical fruit in the background.
Palate: Notes of pineapple and apple on the attack, leading to and combining with a cinnamon spice kick towards the back-palate.
Finish: The cinnamon, apple and pineapple combine in a fruity medium-length finish.
Overall: Fruitier than I remember, but with the bottlings being sold by vintage rather than age, each release is different and a year older, so I may be trying to compare it to a later, woodier bottling I’ve had previously.
- The Glenrothes 1995 / Bottled 2011 (c. £55)
Colour: Pale gold.
Nose: Butterscotch heavy on the nose, with a hit of vanilla.
Palate: Butterscotch continues from the nose, notes of toffee complement this, backed up by spicy notes of liquorice and white pepper.
Finish: Slight bitter note on the finish, but a quite pleasant one (in the same way it is with beer) rather than being a fault. Medium to long in length with the butterscotch note that was evident on the nose continuing all the way to the end.
Overall: My personal favourite from the range, but then I have a sweet tooth and this has the ‘sweetest’ profile.
- The Glenrothes 1988 / Bottled 2009 (c. £115)
Colour: Dark gold.
Nose: Notes of leather, spice and fruit cake
Palate: Rich in texture, almost creamy, with fruit cake and chocolate notes leading to a spicy kick on the back-palate.
Finish: The fruit cake note that as bee evident all the way through continues on the long finish, joined by the spicy and chocolate flavours.
Overall: A delightful dram, with a lovely sherried flavour profile. At its current price, it represents good value, but with stocks running low, its bound to increase in price – in fact it has with some retailers quite sharply.
Until next week…