Independent bottlers are often responsible for the popularity of otherwise overlooked distilleries. While it is hard to call Glenrothes overlooked, as its single malt is sold around the world, people who have tasted the core range of the distillery (which is basically young, hapless whisky), are quick to dismiss the distillery.
However, look outside of the official distillery bottlings, and there are many gems to be found from independent bottlers. Nowhere is the discrepancy between official and independent bottlings as big as with Glenrothes. Why is that? I forgot where I read it, but later this year the Glenrothes core range is expected to receive an overhaul. I hope that means more than just new packaging…
Glenrothes 1997 20 Years Old (56,2%, Cadenhead’s)
Nose: Roasted peanuts with dark caramel and luscious red fruit, as well as cocoa powder. There’s a hint of leather here too, with just a touch of mint. Taste: The roasted peanut skins make an encore, but there’s also mocha, dark coffee and burned caramel, as well as polished leather. Quite aggressive, and fairly spicy. There’s some chili and ginger, but also faint notes of cherry syrup. Finish: Lingering spices, before settling into a sweeter territory. Long.
Sherry matured Glenrothes rarely disappoints, an neither does this one. Don’t be scared to play around with water, it can take it.