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Thursday, September 23, 2021

Glenrothes 16 year old 1979

I've never had Glenrothes from the 1970s, so this will be a first — and a second, since I have another sample from the Malaise Decade. Both whiskies are official bottlings weighing in at an overwhelming 43%abv. The first one was distilled in 1979, the year Pops Stargell and the Pirates knocked out the Orioles in the Series.

Distillery: Glenrothes
Ownership: The Edrington Group
Region: Speyside (Rothes!)
Age: 16 years (3 August 1979 - 1995)
Maturation: ???
Outturn: ???
Alcohol by Volume: 43%
(sample from a bottle split)


At first sniff, the whisky noses of roasted meat and roasted nuts with a side of paint VOCs. Then things get interesting. Mothballs and olive juice. Then caramel applies. Yuzu. Vanilla Bean. And finally, guava.

The palate begins very dusty, but by the third sip it takes off. First toffee, salt, lemons and Sugar Daddies (the candy). Then hints of tobacco ash and horseradish.

The finish comes in sweeter than the palate, but it also has the tobacco ash and hints of chile oil and tannin.


I've found my new favorite Glenrothes! Had it been bottled stronger (yes this song again), it may have been pretty fabulous. But at 43%abv, we're left with just pretty darned good. Though it has touches of tannin, vanilla and caramel, it doesn't feel like a contemporary woody thing because those elements take a backseat to much more interesting stuff. The nose itself is delightful.

Three high quality Glenrothes in a row? This is the strangest life I've ever known.

Availability - ???
Pricing - ???
Rating - 87