Glenrothes 13 Years (Adelphi)

“Dirty Water”

Whisky Review # 1011

Country: Scotland 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿
Region: Speyside
Brand: Glenrothes - Distilled: 2007
Matured and Bottled by: Adelphi (AD) in 2021
Type: Single Malt Single Cask Scotch Whisky - Cask # 10236 - Bottles: 604
Age: 13 Years
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 59.8% (Cask-Strength)
Maturation: Re-fill Sherry Butt
Chill Filtration: No
Price Range: US$ 100-120  (February 2024)
Price/Quality Ratio: 👎 Too expensive for what it offers
Buying Advice: 👎  If you want it dirty go for Springbank and/or Ledaig instead


Golden Amber (Natural Colour)


Be sure to give this Glenrothes enough time in the glass before Nosing in order to avoid the initial notes of Alcohol and some Sulphur and Varnish. The Nose is a bit Dirty as well suggesting this was not the best cask around. The Nose is a mix of Sweet, Fruity & Sour notes. Lots of (mostly) Dried Fruits & Nuts but they are slightly hampered by this cloud of Dust. Most people, including me, will consider the ABV on the high side. In my opinion relatively Young Malts such as this Glenrothes do not necessarily require to be bottled at Cask Strength. 

Main Aromas:

Sweet Barley, Buttered Toast, Caramel, Demerara Sugar, Dried Fruit like Apricots, Plums, Apples & Raisins, Candied Citrus, slightly Sour Dark Cherries & Red Berries,  Mixed Nuts and Nutshells, Dusty Road, Nutmeg, Licorice, Cinnamon, Aniseed and Cloves. 

Supportive Aroma Accents:

Honey, Vanilla, Milk Chocolate, Straw, Grapefruit Juice, Melon, Caffe Latte, Tobacco, Leather, Dusty Oak casks in a Dunnage Warehouse, Ginger, Cardamom, Pepper and Kerosine. A hint of Burnt Rubber.    


The delivery is quite strong of course on account of the high ABV. I don't say this a lot but this Glenrothes definitely requires some added Water. The Palate follows the Nose but Bitter notes are added at this point. Dirt and Dust still rule! There's a bit of Sulphur but it stays within limits.  

Main Flavours:

Sweet Barley, Brown Sugar, Caramel, Dried Fruit like Plums, Apples & Raisins, Milk Chocolate, Candied Citrus, Mixed Nuts and Nutshells, Straw, Dusty Oak, Cinnamon, Pepper, Cloves and Menthol. 

Supportive Flavour Accents:

Honey, Vanilla, Treacle, Sour Cherries & Red Berries, Grapefruit Juice, Dusty Track, Tobacco, Leather, Varnish, Nutmeg, Ginger and Cardamom.


Middle-Long and quite Dry. A Dusty mix of Sweet, Bitter and Sour notes. As was to be expected the Alcohol is quite present. We certainly need to add Water later on. I find Malted Barley, Caramel, Brown Sugar, Vanilla, Dried Fruit like Plums, Apples and Raisins, Mixed Nuts and Nutshells, Candied Citrus, Sour Cherries & Grapefruit, Tea, Strong Espresso, Dark Chocolate, Straw, Dusty Road, Dusty Oak, Forest Floor, Wet Rocks and Sand, Metal, Pepper, Cinnamon, Ginger, Cardamom, Nutmeg, Cloves and Menthol. Licorice after a while.  

Drinking Advice:

I added quite a bit of Water and that chases the Alcohol away of course which in this case is a good thing. You do get lots of Nutty Breakfast Cereals on the Nose now. It's less Fruity this way. Palate and Finish are easier now but also more Spicy with lots of Menthol. This is hard to call. I suggest you try it both ways.

Rating: 7 (*******)

Nose: 7 - Taste: 7 - Finish: 7 

*** Important Note with respect to Rating.

If the Final score is above 8 you can safely buy the whisky in question if and when it fits your Aroma/Flavor profile. If the score is between 6 and 8 you might want to try it out in the form of a sample or if offered at a good price. Anything below 6 should be left alone when you are looking for a nice sipping whisky. You might still like it of course & I realize pricing is an important item for many whisky fans especially when you are used to enjoy whisky in a cocktail or a mixed drink.

Drinking Experience Neat: Okay/Good. 

The Glenrothes distillery is located in Rothes (Morayshire) & was founded by James Stuart & Company in 1878. Between 1963 and 1989 the number of Stills increased from 4 to 10. The reason was that Blenders highly appreciated the Glenrothes Spirit and used it in great quantities for Blends like the Famous Grouse and Cutty Sark. The distillery is owned by the Edrington Group since 1999. The current production amounts to around 4.2 million litres. Because of the high Blender's demand, the first Single Malt was only launched in 1994. Their bottles are quite interesting and different. They actually look like hand grenades! The core range includes the 18, 25 and 42 years. The 10 and 12 Y as well as the Whisky Maker's Cut have been discontinued. It's quite obvious that Glenrothes is concentrating on the very high-end markets. A good example is a 40 Year old release specifically for the Chinese market. There are plans to completely upgrade the distillery in the coming 5 years.

This Glenrothes is not really bad and it's quite coherent from Nose to Finish. It's got a few flaws though and they are important. The first one is the really high ABV. That forces you to add Water and the Water significantly changes the character of this Malt. From Fruit to Nuts in a...Nutshell! My second issue is the cask that leaves the Spirit with a veil of Dust and Dirt. That's not always a problem as I tasted many good Malts from say Springbank and Ledaig. But in this case it unsettles the Malt in a big way. This Glenrothes is expensive as well so if you like your Dirty Malt I would advise you to look elsewhere.

Cheers 🥃

Jan van den Ende                                                                   February 9, 2024

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