At the end of 2018, after they had been releasing vintage-based whiskies for exactly 25 years (later also ‘reserves’), The Glenrothes wiped this concept off the table and renewed its core range with… age statements.
The Soleo Collection as it is called (named after the process of sun-drying sherry grapes in Jerez), ranges from 10 to 25 years (including one NAS at higher strength). Also interesting is the fact that all expressions are entirely sherry matured. Close to 90% of all casks maturing at the distillery are ex-sherry and almost 70% are first-fill (seasoned) sherry casks.
We’re trying the Glenrothes 18 Year Old, the black bottle in the picture. Matured only in sherry seasoned casks, a high proportion first-fill and bottled at natural colour. Too bad they chose to go for 40% ABV for the base expressions and still a meagre 43% ABV for the 18 year-old and 25 year-old, but at least it’s a step in the right direction.
Glenrothes 18 yo
(43%, OB 2018)
Nose: remarkably fresh, with juicy pears and oranges at the centre, alongside apricots and a hint of dried bananas. Quite sherbety with waxy / floral overtones. Vanilla cake. Almonds. Herbs and moderately grassy spices like ginger and clove. Nothing ground-breaking but really bright and appealing, less plump than the old products.
Mouth: a lot drier now, with more overt wood influence. Clove, ginger, crushed peppercorns and oak char. Roasted nuts and leafy notes. Seville oranges and figs. Mocha. Still the distillery markers of toffee and buttery biscuits.
Finish: medium, malty and spicy with some cinnamon and pepper.
This new 18 year-old started off really nice on the nose but became a tad oaky on the palate. Good depth though and a nice Rothes overall. Available from The Whisky Exchange or Master of Malt.