Thanks to /u/devoz for pouring me a dram.
Yup, Glenrothes independent bottling again. I know, I’m getting pretty repetitive, but frankly I really do enjoy independent bottling Glenrothes, and think they are one of my current cask strength picks.
So what’s new about Glenrothes-Glenlivet 20 1997 Cadenhead’s Small Batch? Well first off we see that, as usual, Cadenhead adding in the now not used addition of -Glenlivet that used to be added instead of “Speyside”. Turns out there was a court case where the owner got the rights to call his own distillery that name, however, all other distilleries are allowed to use the hyphen. I’ve never read a reason why Cadenhead’s keeps this going.
And onto things that matter about what’s in the bottle. So we have 20 years in three different sherry casks, cask strength, and with no additional chill filtered or colouration. If that doesn’t do it for you, I don’t really think you’re alive anymore.
Let’s see how it tastes, shall we?
Price: N/A at the LCBO
Stated Age: 20 years old
Cask Type: 3x butts
Number of bottles: 1524
Colour: 5Y 6/8
Nose: Orange-raspberry, herbal, ginger, peanut butter
Initial tart fruit blast is quite nice. Takes some time to get past that. Eventually more herbal, and water brings out the ginger and some nuttiness.
It’s certainly unique. For me, I feel like I was looking for something buttery, rich, etc to help it out.
Taste: Cinnamon, honeydew melon, lime, hazelnut, biscotti
Spice, melon, a bit of cookie. You know this is brunch. I mean it’s a bit of a mixture of going to a coffee shop and having brunch, which I think you can still do. There are some dry aspects. It certainly doesn’t falter with missing out on a base like the nose, which I appreciate about it.
Finish: Brown sugar, butter, cereal, honey, ginger, peanuts
More of that biscuit, drier cookie aspect going on. We went from fruit heavy with a bit of spice and wanting butter to an end with very little fruit left.
I enjoy the finish being somewhat dry here, so beware if you turn down a nice dry white wine.
Conclusion: So let’s address the elephant in the room: This is a 20-year-old dram that’s unique however may not be clicking that “super complex” reaction you have from 20-year-old drams. Add to that it’s a mixture of three casks and the assumption that through vatting them they’d get something greater than the sum of its parts.
That’s not to say this is in some way a bad Scotch. It’s certainly not. It’s fruity at first, it has a hint of a peanut-satay sauce (maybe), and it’s spicy and has a dry, dry finish. This is a nice dram to drink, pure and simple.
So should you buy this? If you like a drier whisky finish, yes. If you like a fruity nose, yes. If you like sherried whisky and potentially dancing in the rain, sure. If you like that less-sweet coffee shop dessert, great. If not, don’t.
Scotch review #1006, Speyside review #279, Whisky Network review #1577