The Glenrothes, a Speyside distillery established in 1879 and located within the town of Rothes, Scotland, not to be confused with the town of Glenrothes 92 miles south as the crow flies.
Correct, I’m about to
bluff talk about Scotch Whisky for the next bit, so it’s time for me to take my Irish Whiskey flatcap off and don the Scottish flatcap.
Up until just over a year ago I only knew the basics about Glenrothes. It’s a Speyside Scottish whisky, and like many other Scottish things it may just contain Irn-Bru. Take the label off the bottle and you’d still know its a Glenrothes due to its very distinctive shape. It reminds me of a Type-97 Japanese hand grenade (Google it). I have heard them refereed to as “La Bombas” so it kind of makes sense as to why I see a hand grenade.
A few years ago the Glasgow based Edrington Group bought the Glenrothes Distillery but seen the brand remind with Berry Bros & Rudd.
Unlike 99.9% of whisky distilleries, they don’t do aged statements, they have “vintages” very much how the wine world works.
Quote from the Glenrothes website: “Every Single Malt we create is Vintage. By that, we don’t just mean aged. We mean whisky distilled in a particular year that reaches it’s peak of maturity, flavour and character. At which point, we have a choice to make: to either bottle these rare and finite expressions as Single Vintages, or marry them together in perfect harmony to create one of our exquisite Reserves.”
Strange but okay, I can deal with that. Fingers and thumbs at the ready to do some quick maths. Along with their “Vintage” range which consists of vatted whiskies, there is also a “Reserve” range which is NSA plus a “Single Cask” range. The whisky that doesn’t make the cut to be bottled under the Glenrothes lable is sent off to be used in the Edrington Groups blended Scotch whiskies that you might just know, Cutty Sark and The Famous Grouse.
Living in Northern Ireland the only way to come across Glenrothes is to pop along to Asda and pick up the Select Reserve or take a road trip across the Irish Sea to a Scottish Off-Licence. Happily I needed to do neither of these, I was lucky enough to be sent two 100ml bottles of the 1991 vintage bottled in 2008 by a very good friend for my Christmas present.
My Notes on the Glenrothes 1991 (Bottled 2008)
ABV – 43%
Appearance – Mars Yellow
On the nose – No over paring alcohol vapours with it being 43%. Heavy on the Vanilla & butterscotch, with dried red fruits & sherry bringing up the rear. A pleasant and distinctive smell.
In the mouth – Very much continuing on from the nose. Multilayered the longer you hold in on the tongue. A rather dry sweetness, but intriguing none the less. A low / medium coating.
Down the hatch Conclusions – It’s a long, medium-dry sweetness. A solid Speyside. I’m no Mr J Murray but from the Scotch I’ve tasted over the past few years this one ticks a good few boxes. I’ve heard good stories about how The Glenrothes has put out some fantastic vintages from years gone by which I haven’t had the pleasure to try, so its safe to say this was a very good starting point. Surely it can only get better?
There has been two other releases of the ’91 bottled in ’05 and ’12. It would be interesting to sit down to contrast and compare all three together. I’ll note this one down to try and arrange for a later date.
Score – 7/10
I used two glasses for my review – Glenrothes nosing glass and the Túath Glass.
Until next time, keep safe & keep drinking whisk(e)y responsibly.
Over & out.
Jamie. Whiskey JAC