I’ve not reviewed much Glenrothes on the blog, even though I keep saying I should review more. This is mostly because my interest in Glenrothes peaked and then faded before I started the blog. There isn’t much independently bottled Glenrothes around, and official Glenrothes, despite their unique bottles and their idiosyncratic approach to vintages and age statements, began to taste a little too generic to me: they were rarely poor but they never got me too excited. I quite liked the 1985-2005 and a 1991-2006 (neither of which I have reviewed) but nothing since has really made me want to seek out more—and the few tastes I’ve had of their more recent non-vintage/NAS offerings have been less encouraging still. (Though I do have one much older official release that I found in a now-closed supermarket in Los Angeles’ Koreatown a couple of years ago at more or less the original price. I’m saving that one for a special occasion.)
This review is of an independent Glenrothes I purchased and finished a long time ago. Back then I used to save 6 oz “reference samples” of bottles I liked or found interesting for one reason or the other and this was one of them. I think I may have promised a review of it some time ago—I’m finally delivering now because a friend found a bottle at a long ago price and asked me if I’d had it. When I went to look it up I found that I, oddly, have no record in my otherwise meticulous spreadsheet of when/where I purchased this or when I finished it. I had a vague memory of having liked it and so when I found the 6 oz bottle I couldn’t keep from pouring out a couple of ounces and finally taking some notes. Here they are.
Glenrothes 1980-2005 (55.8%; Scott’s Selection; from a sample saved from my own bottle)
Nose: Toffee, honey, milk chocolate; a bit of toasted oak too that harmonizes well. With more time there’s some citrus (dried orange peel) and a slight metallic note that actually goes well with the citrus. With more time the orange peel expands and becomes the top note, eventually transitioning to brighter, more lemony notes. With water the metallic note gets a little too strong at first and the citrus moves in the direction of citronella; but after a minute or so newer, sweeter fruit notes emerge (berries).
Palate: Leads with the citrus and the toasted oak and it’s really quite lovely. Nice mouthfeel and perfectly drinkable at full strength. On the second sip that metallic note from the nose (a copper penny) is here too along with a mildly leafy note but, again, it works well with the citrus. Not much development with time; let’s see what water does. Water makes it a little sharper (ginger) but also gives it a little more complexity in the process.
Finish: Medium. As the citrus fades out there’s some cocoa powder. As on the palate with water.
Comments: I may have no clear memory of the rest of this bottle but I really liked this pour tonight. It’s not the most complex 24-25 yo malt I’ve ever had but it’s very pleasurable (and more complex with time and water). Definitely worth a look if you can find a bottle somewhere at a long ago price.
Rating: 88 points.