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Friday, September 24, 2021

Glenrothes 1972-2005

I began this week essentially nominating Glenrothes for the The Great Meh Distillery title. Since then, I've had three very good Glenrothee. But surely a 30-something year old single malt distilled in 1972 will be bog water. Right?

Distillery: Glenrothes
Ownership: The Edrington Group
Region: Speyside (Rothes!)
Age: 32-33 years (1972 - 2005)
Maturation: ???
Outturn: ???
Alcohol by Volume: 43%


The nose begins almost like an old Calvados, with baked apples and pears. Then there's the honey cake we had at kiddush in the synagogue when I was a kid. My notes then say "macrons"; did I mean macarons? Or does the whisky smell like France's first family? You decide. After that: hints of maple sugar, iodine and seaweed. Finally, again quoting my notes, "Sticky Icky in the BG". I can't imagine what that's supposed to mean.

Musty oak, sandalwood incense and a hint of cigarettes start off the palate. Tiny notes of dried herbs, dried apricots and dried leaves. But it's mostly a series of old oak tones, though not as far down the path as liquid furniture (see Pappy 23).

A little bit of sherry cask appears in the finish, along side cracked peppercorns, dried leaves and the palate's bitterness.


This is unlike any Glenrothes I've had before. But then again, I don't think I'd tried too many older than 20yo. Having completed three decades in a cask, and starting a fourth, the whisky has gradually taken on plenty of oak; the key word being "gradually." The result is a remarkably expressive nose. Though I liked the palate's aged tobacco-like style, the oak's dominance didn't leave room for much else. Again I wonder what this was like at cask strength, and what was lost in the dilution.

Availability - ???
Pricing - ???
Rating - 86