Glenrothes today. Unlike most other brands, they do not release the standard xy-year old age statement Whiskies and primarily bottle vintages. That’s an approach that makes a lot of sense to us at Single Cask Rum, so kudos.
A Dream of Scotland Comhlan 4.0 1997 18YO (57%): We’re back at the Brühler Whiskyhaus with a refill Sherry butt. The Whisky needs a few minutes but then it’s all there. Chocolate, dark caramel, mold, alcohol-drained cherries, some dried fruits, tobacco perhaps, and clearly also ripe strawberries is what I am picking up in the nose. Very promising. The entry at the palate is quite sharp and the 57% are something that requires getting used to. Other than with comparable rums of the same age and abv, my palate needs some time to recover before the flavours are revealed. Again plenty of chocolate, chocolate-dipped strawberries, caramel, burnt tobacco, quite some wood actually, raspberry leafs, hints of leather and also some minimally herbal notes. A fine Whisky and I don’t have much to complain about, it is just a wee bit outside of my comfort zone. Finish: Sherry wood and now more and more herbs. Very fitting indeed. A nice demonstration of a not too dominant Sherry cask. (83/100)
Whisky-Fässle Glenrothes 1997 20YO (48,2%): Once again we have a Sherry butt but this is one of those ultra dark, dry Sherry-heavy Glenrothes which we have got to know from various bottlers now. Sometimes that works very well (I remember an amazing Anam na h-alba bottling!), other times the Sherry has killed the Whisky entirely. Let’s see. Nose: A very nice combination of the dry Sherry notes (chocolate, dried plums, leather) and the Glenrothes profile (pepper, grilled vegetables, fresh soil). Yup yup, very nice. With more time I can also find a slightly herbal touch (lovage, rosary), creamy vanilla, dry cherry tomatoes and a mix of nuts. Palate: As good as the nose promised. The <50% has enough power to deliver what’s necessary and the mouthfeel is waaay creamier than you’d expect. That has to be the Sherry, which comes again in the form of milk and dark chocolate, cold coffee, dried plums and notes closer to leather or candied nuts. Then the grilled vegetables (mushrooms, brinjal, tomatoes), pepper, cocoa and clearly also the lovage again. Nose and palate are actually rather similar but when they are this nice, what shall we complain about!? Finish: A small downside as it is rather short, slightly sharp and aroma-wise somewhat forgettable. It’s a pity but the rest was just great. (88/100)
Glenrothes 1995 21YO (45%): With Whisky we actually can try official bottlings without much fear, remember!? How great is that!? The nose is very creamy with vanilla, toffee, caramel, citrus, some chocolate… well, this is all good and well, just absolutely no comparison to the A Dream of Scotland bottling we’ve just had though. I am recognising a very similar profile however, even though they didn’t use any Sherry casks with this one. It really makes you want to take a sip though. Palate: Again, very creamy, more than it should be at just 45%. Flavourwise, we are still in the same boat: Vanilla, caramel, toffee, milk chocolate, Rooibos, cinnamon and a good amount of oak. The finish is medium long with lots of cinnamon, wood and Rooibos. It’s not an interesting Whisky in any sense, yet it is not easy sipping either. With Whisky I just don’t like the middle ground between these camps. Let’s just check the price for the funnsies… nah, too much. (80/100)
The Whisky Cask Glenrothes 1986 30YO (53,9%): I don’t have much experience with such old Whiskies but my understanding is that they can get much, much older than rum without becoming too woody. Here we have a Sherry Hogshead maturation by the way. Nose: It all starts with the earthy, vegetal character of Glenrothes but those aromas are quickly joined by dried plums, the characteristic fortified wines notes such as leather or dried fruits and then lots and lots of red apples. Eventually I also get some slightly herbal nuances such as mint and very clearly also lemongrass. The palate starts with the apples again. This is kinda like the J.Bally of Whiskies. Then plums and dried red fruits, leather. This is not exactly how I imagined a 30 year old Sherry-Whisky to taste like but it is very fine juice. It’s just that judged by the texture I would have guessed a much younger Whisky. Then more and more apples, cinnamon, lemongrass and quite some wood. Finish: Really long with rich apples, leather and prunes, as well as a decent but not excessive influence from the cask. A really good one, but I was hoping for even more. (86/100)
We were all over the field today but none of the Whiskies all of the Whiskies were good. Ain’t that great!?