There’s currently a whole list of middle-aged Glenrothes bottlings, all heavily sherried. We’re trying three 1997 expressions from German bottlers Liquid Treasures, The Whisky Fair and Whisky-Fässle.
Glenrothes 19 yo 1997
(59,4%, Liquid Treasures ‘Faces of Angkor’ 2017, refill butt)
Nose: starts on wet chalk, with hints of cake and a little porridge. Quite a heavyweight dram, a bit of a meaty spirit. Then some pear liqueur and orange blossom. Aniseed. A little butter.
Mouth: fresher, fruitier as well, almost a fruit spirit. Lots of orchard fruits, apples and pears. Touches of white grapefruits as well. Rather creamy, with plenty of natural barley notes.
Finish: medium long, still this eau-de-vie side, with a grassy touch now.
A little undecided. The bulky side of the spirit is not entirely my style, but the creamy, fruity palate makes it rather enjoyable. Brighter and fruitier than most officials. Around € 130.
Glenrothes 20 yo 1997 (49,8%, Whisky Fair 2017, refill hogshead, 240 btl.)
Nose: same meatiness, earthiness, some sulphury notes and rubber perhaps. Here there are more classic sherry notes though: toffee, chocolate cream, dates and prunes. Dark cigars. Reminds me of some old blends in a way, as well as some of my least favourite GlenDronachs.
Mouth: very intense (PX style), same caramel and fudge, dried fruits and a big spiciness. Chocolate. Prunes, pepper, ginger. Gets fruitier and brighter after a few sips. A little tobacco. Coffee powder.
Finish: long, dry, on herbs and walnuts.
This one has the same fleshy, bulky undertones with a meaty side, but on top of that its adds the classic raisiny sherry notes. A bit dirty, not my cup of tea when it comes to sherried whisky. It’s not often that I disagree with Whisky Fair bottlings. Around € 145.
Glenrothes 19 yo 1997 (51,8%, Whisky-Fässle 2016, sherry butt)
Nose: similar to the Whisky Fair release, but more oriented towards herbs and less on the sticky toffee pudding and chocolate. Added coffee notes, some brighter (overripe) oranges as well. Maple syrup.
Mouth: still quite an umami whisky, but definitely a bit fruitier and more refined now. Oranges, prunes, raisins, hints of baked banana. Then herbs, liquorice, coffee and nutty notes.
Finish: long, dry and herbal.
I didn’t see this coming, I thought the refill butt would finish last after the sherry bombs. In any case three bulky Glenrothes. I’m not the biggest fan of these kind of heavy sherry bottlings but I know this has kind of a cult following. Around € 145.