Thanks to boyd86 for pouring the sample as part of the “year-end” tasting we had (in April).
End of year is typically when my group of friends and I show up with a nicer bottle of whisky than what we’d normally have. It’s a fun excuse to drink through the bigger bottles/bottle splits we’ve gathered. Because it’s been 2 years since we’ve had one, we were all chomping at the bit.
So we have everything in front of us, and we decide Glenrothes 21 1996 A.D. Rattray Cask Collection will go first, because we had enough energy to say the name at the start of the tasting.
A while ago I revisited Glenrothes and determined that the tobacco and tomato laden whisky was not in my wheelhouse. So I didn’t know what to take about an ex-Bourbon cask strength single cask offering. A.D. Rattray Cask Collection has been quite nice, but also… Glenrothes and I haven’t been best friends with one another on MySpace either.
So let’s see how this tastes, shall we?
Vintage: July 11, 1996
Bottled: June 25, 2018
Cask type: Bourbon Hogshead
Cask number: 15
Number of bottles 321
Colour: 7.5Y 9/4
Nose: Honey, tobacco (vegetal and ash), apricot, floral, lemon
Nice honey, and there’s tobacco… But it’s paired up with some other flavours, so I’m not angry. Actually… tobacco takes the back seat, where it belongs, what with it being a flavour I don’t like and I’m an asshole.
Good fruit, honey, and floral notes. And the orange is not there! Yay!
Taste: Apricot, brine, malty sweet, walnut oil, green olives
Yay, the apricot didn’t turn to the typical orange notes! We’ve got a better time here!
Very thick mouthfeel. Very, very thick. Lots of malt sweet notes mixed with bitter nutty/meaty notes. Plays with sweet and bitter quite a bit. Also the vegetal notes and the ash are completely gone, and there’s a big salt note. Which as a human being I’m all for.
Yes, I’m human, doing human things like writing silly thing for strangers’ on the internet.
Finish: Mineral, sunflower seeds, peanut, spearmint, grapefruit
More of the brine/bitter elements along with a shift to sharp, sweet leafy notes and bitter fruit. So it’s playing with what it has.
Conclusion: What a surprising, interesting Glenrothes that only somewhat tastes like a Glenrothes. Glenrothes should do more like this.
I kid of course. Why do I not like Glenrothes? It’s filled with a lot of acidity that I sometimes can’t handle, personally. Orange, in other words. It’s also quite plentiful with tobacco notes, which again, I’m not that great with.
And maybe this just tweaked things a bit, but it was enough that I was happy to have it. It never really gets too insanely complex and I feel a lot of Lowlands do some aspects better, but honestly? It’s a good bottle to grab if you see it. A great one if you’re a Glenrothes fan, because the DNA is the same but changed just a bit, like banging your gender swapped (or not gender swapped) clone.
Which we would all do.
Scotch review #1535, Speyside review #435, Whisky Network review #2255