Glenrothes Whisky Maker’s Cut (2020)
Talk about long overdue. Glenrothes switched from vintages to age statements in 2018, but it took me until now to finally review one of the whisky’s from this distillery’s Soleo Collection. And not even one with an age statement, but instead the sole NAS offering, the Glenrothes Whisky Maker’s Cut.
Where I was kind of sad to see the vintage approach of Balblair go, it’s a little more exciting to see Glenrothes has made some changes. That’s probably because Balblair’s vintage releases were often excellent, and whatever Glenrothes put out was often somewhat meh. Usually the best way to get your Glenrothes fix, was to turn to the independent bottlers. Because Glenrothes sure has massive potential.
While the Glenrothes Whisky Maker’s Cut doesn’t have an age statement, it is bottled at a fairly high strength and has matured in first-fill Sherry-seasoned casks. Upon release it immediately drew comparisons to classic high-strength sherry-matured whiskies such as the Aberlour a’bunadh, but I don’t believe it has quite lived up to those expectations. Best to find out for myself.
Glenrothes Whisky Maker’s Cut (48.8%, OB, 2020)
Nose: Notes of burnt toast, cherry syrup and a touch of copper and baby sick, but also oatmeal cookies. Creamy touches with some walnut skin, caramel and Werther’s Original, as well as a touch of marzipan and flaxseed oil.
Taste: Sweet, brown sugar, honey and gentle spices, but also bitter orange peel, and a whiff of fennel and powdered coffee, but also a touch of Earl Grey. No need to add water, as it highlights a dryness and brings out some sour notes.
Finish: Drying and gentle spices with a honey sweetness. Medium.
Rather a textbook example of a modern sherry whisky, the Glenrothes Whisky Maker’s Cut is a little fragile at times but offers some complexity and richness as well. Not a total winner, but it’s perfectly fine.
Photo: The Whisky Exchange
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.