(Thanks to /u/Scotch_Fanatic for this dram)
Ever have one of those moments where you’re sure you’ve never had something, or even something from that group, and then you find out you have. I was sure I hadn’t had moose for the longest time, and then my mother reminded me I had. My wife is pretty sure she’s never had anal, yet she just got blackout drunk and we did. My ass still hurts.
What I’m saying is the memory is a funky thing. That’s partially why I do reviews. If I write it all down, close to the time, I can go back and see what I thought and how I felt about it.
I was pretty sure I’d never had a Glenrothes whisky. Then I found out that they are usually used in Famous Grouse and Cutty Sark blends, so yes, I’ve had them. But of course I’ve never reviewed one as a Single Malt, right? Wait, no I have, which I’ll link below.
So it’s probably for the best that I write things down. Otherwise my ass will hurt more.
So I went into this review of Glenrothes 1997 The Ultimate thinking it was my first Glenrothes. And leaving everything else to chance. I know (because I looked) that I’ve never had anything from van Wees, the bottler who makes The Ultimate line. Beyond that, I dove in.
So, let’s see how this one stacks up.
Price: N/A in Ontario
Age: 16 years old
Cask Type: Refill Sherry Butt (ass joke goes here)
Cask Number: 9244
Number of Bottles: 775
Colour: Dark Brown
Nose: Plums, caramel, wood, currant, fresh baked bread, stir fry
Wow. This has a lot of unique flavours. Starts off like any other sherried Speyside, however slowly grows into this umami rich, fresh baked bread fruit fest.
Also I tried to make a fruit Stir-fry once. Take it from me, that was a dumb idea.
Taste: Molasses, banana, cherry, tannin, pepper, blackberry
And now it tastes like a rum influence whisky. And then a wine influenced whisky. And you get a car. And you get a car! Release the bees!
Getting back on topic: Really fruity and tasty. Takes some time to get more and more complex.
Finish: Soy sauce, wood, malt, light grade maple syrup, Asian pear, tarragon
Big umami flavours, big Asian flavours, and even some buttery sweetness and herbal notes.
This is pretty amazing.
Conclusion: The fact that they were able to do this with just a Sherry cask and just some time, and even make it as big as it could be with only 46%, well, my hat’s off to you. If I wore a hat, that is.
This is big time flavour. And it’s not too different than typical Glenrothes, which is mainly aged in Spanish ex-Sherry casks. All in all, this is a definite buy, if you can find it.
I should probably try non-special edition and non-IB versions of Glenrothes at some point.
Scotch review #254, Speyside review #79, Whisky network review #387