Distillery: The Glenrothes
Age: 10 years (bottled in early 2009)
Finish: mixed casks
Region: Highlands - Speyside
Alcohol by Volume: 43%
From Royal Mile Whiskies:
The official bottlings are bottled by the wine merchants, Berry Bros. & Rudd who offer them as vintages, which is not surprising given their status as respected wine merchants. Their distinctive dumpy bottles are massively popular and have been highly praised. The casks they select, carefully chosen from 2% of the distilleries annual output, are mostly matured in sherry casks with 25% being fresh, and a few bourbon casks occasionally used to provide balance and extra depth. There is absolutely no colouring in any official Glenrothes whisky. It is all natural colour from the casks.
The second 100mL bottle from a three-pack of Glenrothes that I purchased at Royal Mile Whiskies in London. My post about the first bottle, the Select Reserve, is here. I also sampled this at the splendid free Scotch Tasting at The Daily Pint back on June 16th. (The 1998 is very difficult to find in the US, UK, and online. Per notes I've seen online, I think the '98 was primarily released in Asia.)
I mostly just wanted to post the above pic of the quaint label and the tiny bulb-like dumpy bottle. Though the "handwriting" is likely digitally printed, it's a nice touch. I really like the birth and bottling date listings which many of the independent distributors choose to include on their labels as well.
While I understand that providing tasting notes somewhere on the packaging makes for an acceptable tasting guide, listing the "character" so prominently (the top of the front label) strikes me as a bit heavy-handed. Taste and smell are linked to an individual's sense memory and chemoreception system. Whisky is a work of art, so the author's intent doesn't matter; everyone takes something different from the experience. Six professional tasters will generate six different sets of notes on the same bottling.
For instance, the folks who compile the Complete Guide to Single Malt Scotch reference lots of orange, toffee, and vanilla in this specific single malt. Serge Valentin tastes honey, marmelade, apples, and toasted bread. Those are the pros.
This amateur's notes were: "HONEY. Honey prominent in the palate and finish. There's even honey in the nose. Looks like honey too. A tiny bit of vanilla. And it shares that butterscotch moment the Select Reserve had. But mostly honey. The jury's out if this is a good thing." Additionally, the texture is thin and the finish is very clipped. And yet again, this whisky was not memorable. I'm thankful for my notes.
It's a half step up from the Select Reserve overall. Though I wouldn't call that a ringing endorsement.
Pricing - Overpriced! at $55-65
Rating - 73