Blind Tasting #1: Glenrothes 10 Years (Dràm Mòr)
First day of the Blind Tasting Competition and I’m off to a pretty abysmal start. I can live with my score (I got points for age and alcohol percentage), because I didn’t recognise any markers that pointed me towards a certain distillery. But I’m somewhat piqued that I didn’t realise this was the Glenrothes 10 Years from Dràm Mòr. After all, I tasted it before. A little longer ago than I thought, but it was still only in April that I last tried it.
But this happens I suppose. What I am happy about is that my tasting notes are mostly similar, so that is a win. In general, I’d say it is a bit feistier and more spicy than I remember from last time. That is also why I didn’t go for 86 or 87 as a rating (like I did last time), but instead settled for a score just below that.
As far as my guess for this whisky, I settled on an 11-year old Glenturret bottled at 56.9% ABV. Like I said, I didn’t pick up any trademarks that I associate with a certain distillery, so I knew I would choose a distillery from the Highlands or Speyside out of strategical considerations (they house the most distilleries after all). I just picked the wrong region. However, it was pretty clear to me that this was a young-ish, sherry-matured single malt bottled at a high strength.
Glenrothes 10 Years (58%, Dràm Mòr, C#5280)
Nose: Opening up with honey, caramel, orange peel, Werther’s Original and lemon yoghurt. There might just be a tinge of brown sugar, chocolate and vanilla as well. Finally a whiff of charred oak, but also some orchard fruits.
Taste: Proper creamy mouthfeel, really thick. The arrival is sweet and spicy, with plenty of caramel, figs and tablet, but also chili pepper, fresh ginger and a slight hint of sulphur. A touch of lemon zest too.
Finish: Medium to long. Spicy and lingering notes of stroopsoldaatjes. A pretty modern, sherry-matured whisky.
A good single malt with a medium sherry influence, albeit a bit feisty on the palate at times. With just 19 points (out of a possible 100) I’m in the middle of the pack right now. Find out tomorrow if I’m able to climb the leaderboard after sample 2.
Thijs is a spirits writer and accredited liquorist from The Netherlands. He runs the blog Words of Whisky and contributes to a number of Dutch and international publications.