The Macallan and Highland Park, but also the well-known blends The Famous Grouse and Cutty Sark, in which much of The Glenrothes’ production ultimately ends up. Fortunately Glenrothes has moved more and more in recent years towards single malt bottlings, and today we are tasting the 1995 vintage.
One way in which Glenrothes distinguishes itself from other Speyside brands is by bottling its whiskies in vintages rather than using age statements. Hence in your local whisky shop you might find The Glenrothes 1998, 1988, 1994, etc. as well as the vatted malt “Select Reserve.” We’ve tasted the Select Reserve as well as a few of the vintages in the past, so were excited by the recent arrival of the 1995 vintage in North America. Released last year in Europe, us new-worlders had to weight for this vintage, which Glenrothes describes on their packaging as follows:
Appearance: Medium golden, clear and bright
Nose: Floral, citrus and butterscotch notes with a hint of spice, white pepper and cedar-wood syrup
Palate: Rich, sweet, soft flavor, leading to rich spiciness
Finish: Sugared citrus peel soft fruits, medium dry with abundant spices
Here’s what we thought: Matured in 30% first-fill american sherry casks, the 1995 is a surprisingly light amber in color. However, the butterscotch and vanilla from the sherry appear instantly on the nose, complimented by cereals, orange peel, cinnamon and nutmeg. On the palate the orange peel and vanilla become more prominent, with sugary dark fruits coming through. The mouth-feel is syrupy, with a sweet and lingering finish through which oranges and vanilla continue to appear.
Overall, this is a very pleasant dram. Priced only a few dollars more than the quickly-disappearing 1994 vintage, retailing for $82, this whisky is suitably priced for a 16 year old, and makes a great dram especially for those who enjoy sweet and citrusy whiskies with a solid dose of of butterscotch and dark fruits underneath adding complexity and depth.