I recently mentioned a US exclusive batch of Single Malts of Scotland bottlings, one of them being a Glenrothes 30 Years 1989. It turns out that at the same time there is a sister cask for Europe.
We’re trying cask #18166 and #18177 head-to-head.
Glenrothes 30 yo 1989 (41,9%, Single Malts of Scotland 2019, hogshead #18177, 92 btl.)
Nose: very natural. Plenty of orchard fruits (apples, pears) with a hint of pineapple in the background. Also aromatic woody notes with grassy touches, even a hoppy edge. Broken branches, hints of green almonds, white bread. Light mineral hints and wax candles. Not as exuberantly fruity as other 30 year-old Rothes, but uniquely scented.
Mouth: again a bright fruity core of pears, pineapple cubes, gooseberries and yellow plums. Pink grapefruit and some passion fruits sparkle. Green leafy notes as well as a hint of juniper. Light mint too.
Finish: long, with marmalade, a little vanilla, ginger and mint.
This one is for you if you’re looking for a natural, nuanced Speysider that remains close to the raw materials. The waxy notes make it more interesting. Soon available from ImpEx Beverages in the US, for around $ 300.
Glenrothes 30 yo 1989 (48,5%, Single Malts of Scotland 2019, hogshead #18166)
Nose: a similarly fragrant nose, with pears and pineapples and a bit more bright and citrusy notes here. Whiffs of sawdust and floral honey. Almonds and malty notes. Less of the waxy notes that make cask #18177 a bit more special in my opinion.
Mouth: obviously very similar. Orchard fruits mixed with citrus juice and citrus peels. The higher alcohol level makes it come across woodier as well, with hints of clove and resinous notes.A green leafy note, the juniper is present too. Water helps to make it rounder and closer to the sister cask.
Finish: long, still quite (grape)fruity but also more grassy and spicy.
Not necessarily of lesser quality, you know, but it requires some fiddling with water to get a similar profile, while the US-bound cask has an immediate appeal. Available from The Whisky Exchange.