Glenrothes 1995 (The Ultimate) Review

“A Glass of Bitter Almonds”

Country: Scotland 
Region: Highland - Speyside
Brand: Glenrothes 1995 (The Ultimate) 
Type: Single Malt Whisky
Age: 17 Years
ABV: 46%

Colour: Yellow Gold 

Nose: There is some Alcohol present so be sure to give it sufficient time in the glass before Nosing. The Sweet, Floral and Fruity Nose is dominated by Barley, Dried Fruit, Nuts, Brown Sugar, Toffee, Caramel and Vanilla. I also find light Sherry, Marzipan, Fruitcake, Honey, light Oak, Orange Zest, Puff Pastry with stewed Apples, Dusty Shelves and light Spices. A Sherried Speysider by all means but not as full and rich as for instance a Macallan where the Ex-Sherry Cask influence is more noticeable. 

Palate: Bitter-Sweet and slightly Dusty with Toffee, Caramel, Honey, Marzipan, Stewed Apples, Brown Sugar, Cocoa Powder, Bitter Chocolate, Dried Fruits, Nuts, Oak, Clove and Pepper.  

Finish: Middle-Long, Spicy, Herbal and slightly Bitter. Dry in the end. I find Malt, Caramel, Dark Chocolate, Orange Zest, Bitter Almonds, Whipped Cream, Oak, Pepper, Clove and Dusty Country Road.

I added a bit of Water and the Nose becomes more Floral and Waxy. Some extra Honey as well. Palate and Finish do not benefit from the added Water. The ABV of 46% is absolutely correct.

Rating: 83.5

Nose: 21.5 - Taste: 20.5 - Finish: 20.5 - Overall: 21

General Remarks: The Glenrothes Distillery was built in 1878/1879 by James Stuart & Co. The distillery is currently owned by the Edrington Group while Berry Bros & Rudd owns the Brand Name. The Glenrothes is an important ingredient in Blends like Cutty Sark and The Famous Grouse. 

The Glenrothes I am tasting today was distilled on the 5th of June 1995 and bottled on the 28th of August 2012. It was matured and bottled by the Dutch Independent Bottler van Wees in Amersfoort as part of The Ultimate series. It matured in a First Fill Sherry Butt # 6970 and costs around 55 US Dollars. Only 730 bottles were commercialised. This whisky is naturally coloured and not chill-filtered.

Drinking Experience Neat: Good (Should Have Been Better Though!)

Conclusion: If a Whisky spends 17 Years in an Ex-Sherry Cask I kind of expect that Cask to leave a nice and long lasting impression on the Spirit. That's not the case with this Glenrothes. The Spirit is okay as I get sufficient Floral and Fruity tones on the Nose. But on the Palate the Spirit is slightly Bitter, a bit Dusty and Tired. It's not a bad Single Malt but you need to be a true Bitter Chocolate and Bitter Almonds fan to fully enjoy this Glenrothes. Personally I had expected a lot more of this Single Malt. I'm glad I only bought a sample!  

Jan van den Ende                                                              February 24, 2015


Anonymous said...

Dear Jan,
what a pitty.

Actually the mere data (Glenrothes 17 yo, first fill sherry, single cask, 46%) made me curios and created rather high expectations as there were some brilliant similar bottlings by Signatory Vintage in their unchilfiltered collection around, lately.

Well, every cask is different.

Best regards

Jan van den Ende said...

Hey Bjorn, I was expecting a lot more as well. But this Cask did not interact well with the Spirit in my opinion. The Nose was okay but Palate and Finish were too Bitter, at least as I am concerned. Thanks for commenting!