Single malt whisky - tasting notes

04 Mar 2009

Glenrothes 1979

Tasting notes by Ruben Luyten - Posted in Glenrothes

Last year, I met Susan Webster at a Dewar Rattray tasting in TastToe. As you may know, her father is working at the Glenrothes distillery. I have a decent Glenrothes collection, and she told me the 1979 vintage was one of her favourites. It was also one of the favourites of John Sutherland, the distillery manager until 2007.

logo The 1979 is special in the history of The Glenrothes because it was their first vintage ever to be launched, back in 1994. It was also by coincidence the centenary year of the first spirit distilled there.

It’s also special because in 1979, Glenrothes converted the old malt barn into a new, computerized still house and added a new pair of stills. In a way, it’s true that the vintages of 1979 and earlier are more hand-crafted. Around 50.000 bottles were made of the first batch (there were new releases of the 1979 in 2002, 2004 and 2005).


Glenrothes 1979 24yGlenrothes 14 yo 1979
(43%, OB 1994)

Nose: the label is right: this one is delicately peated which makes it a rather unique Glenrothes (in the 70’s, they still used some peat smoke to dry the malted barley). Really pleasant and complex. Fruity as well: cooked apples, moscatel, citrus, light honey. Some spicy notes (cinnamon, cloves). Marzipan. Mouth: very rich. Sweet and fruity (oranges). Honey. Some toasted flavours as well, and the smoke is still present. Finish: gets a bit drier but soon the candy takes over again. Roasted nuts. Fades away on vanilla, chocolate and smoked wood.


A real gem and a multi-layered Speysider. In fact, it’s a shame that they’ve lost this delicate, smokey profile in later years. The smoke makes it powerful and adds to the complexity of the dram.

Score: 90/100.

Glenrothes 1979 4 Ruben Luyten 2009-03-04
  • Régis

    Hello Ruben,

    First congratulation for your blog: beautifull work !

    About this Glenrothes, would you precise/correct the informations about it: age, date of bottling, cask ?


  • Ruben

    Hi Régis, thank you for the compliments.

    Actually, there is only one Glenrothes 1979/1994. The label states “distilled: 3/8/79 – approved 5/10/93 – bottled in 1994”. There is never an age statement on the Glenrothes vintages. It is not a single cask, so no cask number either.

    There are other Glenrothes 1979, bottled in 1995, 2002, 2004 and 2005 but those are different versions.

  • Claire

    Hi Ruben,

    Although yo do not live in Belgium anymore, do you know a nice “whisky club” in Bruxelles? You know, the kind of whisky-tasting in restaurants/bars.
    My husband is missing his tasting evenings organised by the “Maison du Whisky” in Paris since we’ve moved to Brussels.
    Many thanks,

  • Ruben

    Hi Claire,
    – There is a whisky club in Beersel, but since you used to live in France, I suppose you don’t speak dutch?
    – There are regular whisky tastings (en français) in Wavre – hosted by
    – Be sure to visit the yearly Whisky Live festival in Spa. It is co-hosted by the Belgian branch of La Maison du Whisky, so you should be able to make some contacts there.

  • Régis

    Thank you Ruben for you answer …

    Is this version of Glenrothes already available ?

    If yes … where (webshop) ?

    Best regards and thank you for your contributions on french web forum ( !

  • Ruben

    Hi Régis, this is an old release from 1994. I’m afraid you won’t be able to find it anymore in shops. Maybe on eBay or on Whiskyauction, if you’re lucky.

  • Pingback: » Glenrothes 1988 / Glenrothes 1998 › WhiskyNotes()

  • Régis

    Hi Ruben,

    You’re right, I find/buy one on whiskyauction ….

    Waiting for taste it !


  • John_A

    I was looking around the Internet and found this nice Blog, and found that I have one of these Glenrothes Distilled 1979 bottled 94 with aprovment date 5-10-93, any one whant a tast?

    Best Regards

  • Jacky

    I just bought a bottle of Glenrothes, 1979/2002 OB 43%.
    What do you think about 2002 bottling and 1994 bottling of 1979.

  • Ruben

    I haven’t tasted it, but it should be a completely different malt since the distillation dates are different. According to other reviewers, there’s no peat in the 2002 version, so you can’t compare them (although the 2002 should be a nice dram as well).

  • Dusty

    I seem to have an oddball bottle of Glenrothes… can’t find any mention of it on the web. Maybe someone knows of some database out there that includes it? It’s the “Delicate Peaty undertones” 1979, but unlike all the others is says it was bottled in 1996. Says “limited release”. Any idea why the bottling date is different than all the others I see out there?

  • bellisan

    I think it’s 14y and not 24y

  • Ruben

    Correct, I will change it asap.

  • Rob Ryan

    Hi, could you please help… I have an unopened bottle of
    The Glenrothes 1979… 3/8/79…5/10/93…

    I was just wondering if you had a rough idea how much it may be worth as I can’t find any information of price on the Internet.

    Thanks for your time


  • Ruben

    If you look at previous auctions on, they are nowadays sold for around € 130.



November 2015
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Coming up

  • Amrut 2009 (cask #2701)
  • Glenlivet 1981 (#9468 for TWE)
  • Lagavulin Distillers Edition (2015)
  • Talisker Distillers Edition (2015)
  • Laphroaig 32 Year Old
  • Glen Grant 65yo 1950 cask #2747 for Wealth Solutions
  • Mortlach 1959/1960 (G&M Royal Wedding)

1932 notes by Ruben

WhiskyNotes - Ruben LuytenThis blog is my personal collection of impressions, written while searching for the ultimate single malt whisky.