Happy birthday to Ronnie Cox!
Almost exactly ten years ago I bought part of an impressive Glenrothes collection from eBay, including this Glenrothes 1980. It cost me € 250 back then, a crazy amount, but this was special for multiple reasons.
First, it was a single cask expression. Not many of these existed at the time (four 1966-1967 casks and three from 1979). It still is an exception for this distillery which sticks to the vintage concept they started for the most part.
It was also remarkable for being a first-fill sherry cask bottled at cask strength – the darkest Glenrothes ever if not for the spectacular 1979 cask #13470. Also one of the rarest – if you had enough money, you could easily find one of the 1979 casks but the 1980 seemed as if it never existed. Last but not least, the 1980 is still the highest scoring Glenrothes on Whiskyfun.
Glenrothes 1980 (56,3%, OB 2004, single sherry cask #17563, 558 btl.)
Nose: big, classic sherry notes. Chocolate and spices, with a good dose of coffee and oak. Prunes, walnuts, dried figs and dates. Some aromatic top notes of polished oak and balsamic. Some leathery and slightly earthy notes underneath. Tobacco. Quite a powerhouse, but well balanced.
Mouth: quite a bit drier now, more herbal notes and plenty of wood. Hints of cough syrup and euchalyptus, with the obvious prunes, dates and raisins. Dark chocolate. Really good, but this is 99% the sherry talking.
Finish: medium long,
Certainly a sherry powerhouse, and a very good one. There was a time when I loved this kind of heavy sherry stuff, but I’ve moved towards the refill sherry bottlings. And old bourbon matured Glenrothes can be fabulous as well. Auction material, expect around € 700 or more.