Age: No age statement
Glenrothes distillery is located in the Speyside and is known for its creamy, smooth, sweet whiskies. Their spirit matures rather quickly, and is very drinkable from a young age. As such, it has traditionally been very popular with blending houses, and forms the heart of such notable blends as Cutty Sark and Famous Grouse. The former is owned by one of London’s fanciest wine and spirit merchants – Berry Bros & Rudd Ltd – which has made Glenrothes its house whisky. These bottlings were initially vintages only, each with their own handwritten label. Therefore it was something of a breach of protocol when Glenrothes Select Reserve was released, as this is a vatting of casks from different ages. The result is a very drinkable whisky at a much more affordable price. While vatting was somewhat of an experiment for Glenrothes, the Select Reserve has turned out well and is thankfully here to stay.
Nose: Distinctly winey, mixed with the deep, musty fragrance of aged oak. Notes of caramelised pear evolve into dark chocolate pralines, sprinkled with a dash of maple syrup.
Palate: The body is oily and silky, and the palate bursts with complexity. Zesty citrus flavours intertwine with the oaky profile, and slowly give way to walnuts and honeyed apricot. Notes of barley and dried hops guide this whisky towards the finish.
Finish: Deep and sweet. The spices develop in full force, with cloves and white pepper coming to the fore, suffusing into a pleasant bitterness towards the end.
Verdict: Glenrothes Select Reserve is a very easily drinkable expression, and positions itself snugly in between a simple, uncomplicated whisky and older, more complex drams. As such it is a great introduction to a tasting that’s building up to its more mature, flavourful crescendo. But even by itself, Glenrothes Select Reserve is suitable for any mood and always bound to please.