On to the next tasting of the Single Malts of Scotland offering is the 1989 Glenrothes. Glenrothes is a peculiar one, as far as distilleries go. Young sherry bombs can be absolutely stunning, older single cask expressions can be majestic, but the middle range is a black hole to me. and don’t get me even started on the official bottlings, some of which I reviewed on the blog.
Glenrothes has always been a blender’s malt, one of only 12 distilleries earning a “Top Class” blending classification. However, being so great to blend usually also means that the character is not a unique standout. And if truth be told, as a distillery that still bottles only 3% of its output as a single malt, I don’t think they’re really looking to be an anorak’s favorite. Obviously, when it comes to single casks, all bets are off, and you can get some stellar whisky, if it comes from the right cask.
Today we have and example of an older Glenrothes, aged for 26 years in a refill hogshead, and what came out on this side is utterly beautiful.
Single Malts of Scotland Glenrothes 26 Years Old 1989, Hogshead 8172, Yield 241 Bottles (53.8% ABV, NCF, NC)
Appearance: Gold, slow and thin forming legs.
Nose: Honeysuckle, warm citrus honey, white pepper, vanilla infused oak, talcum baby powder, and some orange blossom. Some time in the glass brings out some sour berries, and a few drops of water bring up notes of dulce de leche.
Palate: Viscous, spicy with quite a bit of sweetness. Yellow pear and some pepper sharpness, with a hint of lemon rind. A few drops of water harmonize the spice and the fruit, making it even more congruent.
Linger: Warm and spicy down the gullet, sweet on the tongue with a dry citrus-y bitter tingle around the mouth, and pepper with the lightest note of chalk.
Not your sherry matured Glenrothes, and overall a beautiful expression. If I had to guess it blind, I’d say it’s a Highlander, and I would definitely not put it as a Glenrothes. This is really a great cask selection, well done!