A lot of independent Glenrothes releases these days, many of which are dark sherry casks.
Today we’re trying one bourbon expression bottled in Holland by The Duchess and and at least one sherry bombs bottled by Sansibar. The third one is from the latest Butterflies series by Antique Lions of Spirits. As it turns out, the same age but three totally different profiles.
Glenrothes 20 yo 1996 (52,8%, The Duchess Shieldmaidens 2017, bourbon hogshead #10/1996)
This cask was apparently shared with Whiskyclub Ypenburg.
Nose: very natural, with varnished oak, sugared cereals and plenty of lemons and unripe pears. Greengages. Hints of vanilla and orange blossom. More honey and aniseed over time.
Mouth: same feeling of natural whisky, almost like an eau-de-vie. A big dose of freshly sawn oak, apple peelings and grapefruits. A slightly bitter tang and chalky edge. Mint and grassy notes. Aniseed again, a little pepper.
Finish: medium long, hints of grass and barley eau-de-vie.
Perhaps a little neutral for my taste, with a grassy and oaky signature. A fair price for a 20 years old whisky though: around € 100.
Glenrothes 20 yo 1997 (53,6%, Sansibar for Whiskyklubben Slainte Sweden 2017, sherry hogshead, 300 btl.)
Nose: quite vegetal at first, traces of sulphur too. Earthy, meaty sherry. Bramble liqueur, brown sugar. dates and lots of musty tobacco notes. Toffee and chocolate. Clearing up after a while, as often, but always a bit bloated.
Mouth: dark sherry, with some dry, tannic notes and lots of sweet liquorice. Prunes. Overripe oranges. A little coffee and ginger.
Finish: long, on chocolate, walnuts and liquorice.
I really enjoyed their Speyside Blended Malt but this is less to my liking. Heavyweight sherry, some dirty notes and hardly any bright fruits. Around € 150.
Glenrothes 20 yo 1997
(57%, Antique Lions of Spirits ‘Butterflies’ 2017, sherry cask, 288 btl.)
Nose: better, with more balance and less dirty notes. More barley notes, baked apples and classic oranges, a little brioche and hazelnut praline. Whiffs of wet gravel, nice leafy notes and tree bark. Hints of vanilla, cinnamon and dark bread. More layered and refined.
Mouth: autumnal profile again, but balanced. Light tobacco, ginger, hints of marmalade and apples. Nutty notes. Mint and some dry leafy notes.
Finish: medium long, fairly dry, on nuts and soft herbs.
The most complex, refined Glenrothes of this trio and my favourite. Autumnal sherry influence without overdoing it. Good, but also the most expensive: around € 200, still available in some places.