Bought: Malts of Scotland (now ‘Bartels Whisky’), 16th April 2015
B – Whiskybase (from 1 member vote)
This Glenrothes is the first whisky in my collection to break the 30yo barrier. I thought it was about time I tried something old. On the one hand I’ve heard it said that the best age for a single malt is around the mid-teens. This appears to be backed up by scores in the Whisky Bible. But I then hear remarks about how amazing the occasional vintage whisky is. You also have to keep in mind that a 15yo, unless it’s single cask, probably has older whiskies in it. It’s often this older whisky that adds depth, character and maturity. Therefore it was only a matter of time before I wanted to experience this ancient ingredient.
On Whiskybase there are currently 6 previous bottles of Glenrothes listed by Malts of Scotland, all scoring between 85-90/100. One member has scored my 34yo a ‘B’ with the comment “low cask influence considering its age. I like it though.” Here are his tasting notes:
Nose: Oily with creamy vanilla, fruits and some mineral hues.
Taste: Its jammy [the way i like it] which stays there in deviance
Finish: Soft and spirity despite the amount of old dryish oak – accompanied by vanillas and a pinch of salt
Bought – Online Whisky Auction, 22nd December 2013
82/100 – Malt Maniacs (average from 2 reviewers)
85/100 – Whisky Fun (April 2008)
I must confess, I only bought this miniature bottle of Glenrothes at auction because a) the box has ‘Gordon’ on it and b) it was cheap (£1.25). I have a cousin called Gordon so I thought it would be nice to give him a whisky gift with his name on it (even though it’s designed to be for the surname ‘Gordon’). It was only when the bottle arrived that I did some research. I knew it was old because of having the ‘Glenlivet’ as part of the name but I discovered it’s a bottle from the 1980s. Getting 85/100 from a review on Whisky Fun was an added bonus. They finish by saying of this malt “a rather oomphy old young malt whisky”. I do like a bit of oomph from my dram!
Bought – Waitrose, 11th November 2013
80/100 – Whisky Bible 2013
80/100 might not seem like an amazing mark from Jim Murray but that still ranks as a “good whisky worth trying”. He deducts most points for the nose of this whisky. I don’t know about you but I tend not to spend a huge amount of time sniffing my dram. I’m more about the tasting! And with Glenrothes we have the exact opposite of the smoky, peaty Islay malts. The ‘Select Reserve’ is the entry-level, typical example of the Glenrothes taste – citrus, floral, bit of spice, dried fruit, creamy finish and enough body to keep you feeling satisfied.
I had a look for a second opinion on Malt Maniacs review page and two dramsters have reviewed this ‘Select Reserve’, one giving it 78/100 and the other 80/100, which is consistent with the Whisky Bible. But it wasn’t the ratings that made me want to buy this. My two main reasons were – 1) every collection should have an example of Glenrothes and 2) the ‘Select Reserve’ is mentioned in Ian Buxton’s book “101 Whiskies to Try Before You Die”. Not only that but he says this bottling “typifies the distillery house character”. So if you want to know the backbone taste of every bottle of Glenrothes there is, look no further than the ‘Select Reserve’.
Oh, one last thing. I was going to say that the packaging is terrible (which it is) but they proudly state on the side of the cardboard box that it’s “from 100% primary unbleached fibre from sustainable forest” so well done Glenrothes! And I love the funky bottle shape too!
Here’s Erik Wait with his review on You Tube (July 2016):