Let’s make this a triple or even quadruple-themed week: 1) three whiskies from three different regions; 2) all sherry cask whiskies; 3) all whiskies bottled by Old Particular (a label of one of the Laing offshoots); 4) all whiskies bottled for K&L in California. Yes, I once again went in on a bottle splits of one of K&L’s recent parcel of casks. I assume these are all sold out by now so these reviews will not be of use as a buying guide—but if you’ve picked up a bottle of any of these, let me know if your notes resonate with mine. First up is a Glenrothes 16, distilled in 2005 and matured in a sherry butt. There seem to be a number of these sherry cask Glenrothes around these days. Across 2020 and 2021 I reviewed a trio bottled by the Scotch Malt Whisky Society (here, here, and here). In addition to being sherry bombs, those were all massive alcohol bombs: all bottled north of 64.5%. I am glad to say that this one is at a tame 57.2% by comparison. I really don’t see the point of most whiskies past 60% I have to say but I realize I am out of tune with the times. I really liked all three of those anyway and am hoping this might be as good. Let’s see. (And for a recent review of a Glenrothes from a bourbon hogshead, see here.)
Glenrothes 16, 2005 (57.2%; Old Particular for K&L; sherry butt DL 14897; from a bottle split)
Nose: Rich start with lots of dried orange peel, roasted malt, rum-soaked raisins. As it sits a fair bit of fruit emerges: cherry and plum; some oak too now. With a couple of drops of water the orange peel brightens and expands and the oak eases. More plum too now.
Palate: Comes in pretty much as indicated by the nose except there’s more oak impact here from the get-go. The sherry doesn’t seem tightly integrated at first but settles on the third sip (though the oak expands). Nice texture and quite approachable at full strength—though I expect it will get better with water. More of the red fruit here too with time. Okay, let’s see what water does. Ah yes, it pushes the oak back here as well and brings out brighter orange peel. As it sits again, the oak returns.
Finish: Long. Orange peel, cherry, roasted malt, oak spice. As on the nose and palate with water, for the most part—there’s still a fair bit of oak spice here. After a bit the sherry threatens to come apart again.
Comments: Was this one of those wine-treated butts? The sherry doesn’t seem as tightly integrated as I would normally expect from 16 years of maturation in a butt. Anyway, this is a very pleasant Glenrothes that will appeal to sherry bomb aficionados. There’s not quite as much earthy or rich fruit notes here (your figs and dates and apricots) and just a bit too much oak for my taste but it’s quite good anyway.
Rating: 86 points.