Glenrothes 1989 31 Years (The Whisky Agency)
Many of the whiskies released these days barely crack double figures in age. Single malts that have aged for two decades have become increasingly rare, let alone the ones that actually approach my own age (although that has to do with me becoming older as well, but I’m still in denial). To find a disclosed Speysider that has aged for 31 years? I won’t say it’s unique, but rather uncommon and, you know, expensive.
The Glenrothes 1989 31 Years by The Whisky Agency will set you back a fair sum of money, but that’s simply the reality of today’s whisky world. I don’t like and neither do you; it interferes with our passion. It’s fine to acknowledge that, but moaning doesn’t help. Also, it’s a compliment to our favourite spirit. No matter how much I love genever, enjoy the occasional cognac and dabble in making cocktails, nothing can quite give me same experience as an exceptional whisky. So, I completely understand its popularity.
However, it does mean whisky of a certain age has become almost unattainable. Or at least they are if you want to buy them by the bottle. I may occasionally splurge for something I know I love, but in many cases I opt to buy samples. It allows me to try the entire breadth of what the whisky world has to offer, because I want my frame of reference to be as wide as possible. The sample of this Glenrothes 1989 31 Years by The Whisky Agency was made possible by Teun. I urge you to check out his list. It’s very comprehensive.
Glenrothes 1989 31 Years (44.4%, The Whisky Agency, 2020)
Nose: Very elegant. Floral and fruity with gentle malty notes and furniture polish. Fresh apples, pears and galia melon, but also soft notes of chalk and minerals. After a while notes of beeswax, conifer and honey appear, as well as gentle stone fruits.
Taste: A level of maturity you don’t see often anymore. Lots of fruitiness with peaches, clementines, stewed apples and ripe pears, as well as whispers of barley husks and beeswax in the background. Finally a sliver of white pepper, but also some menthol.
Finish: Pretty long and somewhat dry with just a touch of oak shavings, straw and mild tobacco notes.
Elegant almost to a fault. This Glenrothes from The Whisky Agency is full of little intricacies, has plenty of complexity and great balance. With just a little more oomph this would’ve rated higher no doubt.
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.