Glenrothes 1989 SMOS // Glenrothes 1986 for The Whisky Show

Two recent Glenrothes 1980s bottlings that have something to do with The Whisky Exchange.

The first is bottled in the Single Malts of Scotland series, a sister cask of the Glenrothes 1989 they had in the same series last year. Strangely enough this cask is #8172 and last year they mentioned #18173, a small mistake there?

The other one comes from Gordon & MacPhail and was one of the show bottlings at the Whisky Show Old & Rare in Glasgow (see Balblair 1986).




Glenrothes 1989 - The Single Malts of ScotlandGlenrothes 26 yo 1989
(53,8%, The Single Malts of Scotland 2016, refill hogshead #8172)

Nose: rather typical Glenrothes profile, plenty of stewed apples and apricots on syrup. Vanillin and a little toffee. A little hay and almonds. Candied ginger. Sunflower oil. Quite weighty but rounded.

Mouth: sweet and fruity. White grapes, apples, tinned pineapple perhaps. Losing some sweetness over time, evolving on bittersweet oranges, as well as some grassy notes. Plain malty notes and cake in the background. Touches of pepper and ginger.

Finish: long, bittersweet and malty. Sweet grasses.

A firm, totally natural Speysider, with the expected sweetness and balanced oak. A bit of a safe choice, but well priced: around € 135, available from TWE.

Score: 87/100



Glenrothes 1986 - Gordon & MacPhail for TWEGlenrothes 30 yo 1986 (61,4%, Gordon & MacPhail for The Whisky Show Old & Rare 2017, refill bourbon barrel #20235, 62 btl.)

Nose: oh how different. There’s more wood influence here (I would have guessed a sherry cask) or rather bodega / cellar influence. Damp earthy notes, tobacco leafs, hints of motor oil. Also beeswax. Polished Ife wood. The fruits are overripe here. More toffee fudge. Old leather. A darker nose, kind of dirty in a way, compared to the 1989, but very good. Very complex too.

Mouth: nutty and oaky, with the same rancio notes. Hazelnuts, a little coffee and brown sugar. Then flashes of citrus, baked pears and waxed peaches. Varnished, almost perfumy traces from the wood. Cinnamon and pepper. Deep, charred notes and camphor in the end.

Finish: long and dry, full of oak spices, burnt sugar, leathery notes and orange zest.

Not an easy one, but a rare beauty and something you’ll only see from independent bottlers like Gordon & MacPhail. Sold out, I believe. Around € 350.

Score: 90/100