Glenrothes / Williamson / Ardmore (Malt Universe)

Glenrothes / Williamson / Ardmore (Malt Universe)

Malt Universe is a Chinese bottler (see Facebook). They haven’t been around for a long time, but they’re clearly paying attention to the selection and nice labels. Always a good sign.


Glenrothes 27 yo 1996 (51,8%, The Malt Universe 2023, hogshead #704828, 258 btl.)

Nose: green fruits, like gooseberries, unripe peaches, apple peelings and lemons. Hints of white blossoms, honey and grasses. Some vanilla. Very natural, with an eau-de-vie character and gristy notes.

Mouth: citric and chalky, but quickly showing a funny synthetic / fragrant note that keeps the middle between Fanta, limoncello, peach candy and jawbreakers. Then it moves towards oranges and grapefruits, white pepper, green grapes and creamy wood. A bit funny, with a fragrant side that is quite unique.

Finish: taking further this aromatic note, with some wood spice, walnuts and citrus.

Quite distinctive and special. Nice fruity notes, but at times I felt it was too weird and perfumed, but then again it never becomes soapy or anything. A deviant cask, for sure, definitely interesting but not a classic beauty per se.


Next up: Williamson. I don’t know why they would use this disguise if they’re also printing Laphroaig just below.


Williamson / Laphroaig 13 yo 2010 (51,9%, The Malt Universe 2023, bourbon barrel #796, 140 btl.)

Williamson / Laphroaig 2010 - Malt Universe Nose: clean, iodine and bandages, medicinal notes and smoky sharpness. Laphroaig with a slightly lactic edge. Then leather and elderberry, as well as herbal extracts and whiffs of oregano. Seashells and oysters. Wet limestone.

Mouth: straight and powerful. Big, big hints of mezcal now. Green leafy notes. Later also medicinal elements, brine, olive oil, green walnuts and lots of cold ashes. More oysters, herbal drops. Rather straightforward and narrow for a Laphroaig, but nicely intense.

Finish: long, on lemon zest, olive brine and ashes.

Overall rather tight and focused, offering lots of medicinal hints and a clear Mexican touch. Laphroagave. A raw little drop. Score: 86/100



Ardmore 13 yo 2010 (56,6%, The Malt Universe 2023, bourbon barrel #802967, 165 btl.)

Ardmore 2010 - Malt Universe Nose: mustard up front, with intense yeasty notes, straw and wood ashes. Light fatty notes and nice hints of dough sweetness underneath. Green peat and charcoal notes, as well as lemon peels and a little shoe polish. Nice.

Mouth: herbal notes, nicely mixed with citrus fruits and subtle hints of pear. Sweet smoke and a nice dose of ashy peat. Then green peppercorns and hints of brine, while also bringing mezcal, medicinal cough syrup and earthy notes to the table. A little diesel even.

Finish: long, on smoked tea, cold ashes and lemons.

This is the kind of quality spirit that would be great as a 30 year old. Intense flavours, but already a beautiful complexity and balance. A fine malt – almost a pity that they bottled it already. Ardmore beats Laphroaig – this is pretty excellent. Score: 88/100