Gordon & MacPhail – Glenrothes 8yo

The Wood Makes The Whisky Series

What Gordon & MacPhail say:

Taken from The Wood Makes the Whisky series, in which G&M explain the impact choosing the right casks has on whisky, and explaining how they have applied that knowledge of maturation to their whiskies.

This Glenrothes has spent 8 years maturing in a combination of both refill Sherry hogsheads and refill bourbon barrels.

What I say:

G&M Glenrothes 8yo
G&M Glenrothes 8yo

Having already sampled the 8yo Bunnahabhain from the same “The Wood Makes The Whisky” series, which is wonderful, see my thoughts here, I am really looking forward to tasting this independent 8 year old.  This is bottled at 43% ABV and is available from Master of Malt at a price of £29.91.



A strong chili alcohol prickle is first up, this is the first hint as to the age of the whisky, it’s certainly very spirited.  Once the fierce nose prickle dies away slightly there is an intense note of fresh bananas and baked banana bread, with homemade toffee sauce bringing a burnt sugar and creamy vanilla note.

Clotted cream combines with sweet cake mix and icing sugar, with a dry nutty note competing for attention, a mix of chopped Brazil nuts and Walnuts.  An uplifting note of lemon and grapefruit unexpectedly makes itself known, which cuts through the sweetness, bringing an effervescent lemon sherbet note.


A wonderful soft cereal note appears, much like Malted Milk biscuits, verging on the honeycomb almost.  There are lashings of milk chocolate and homemade custard.  Hints of hay on a summer’s day, and red apples picked fresh from the tree all combine, before fresh out of the oven banana bread topped with desiccated coconut and sticky dates appear.

The sweet vanilla notes continue with boiled milk, crème caramel and drizzles of honey.  There are some soft tannins coming through from the cask, with a gentle oakiness fighting with meadow flowers for supremacy.

The lemon and grapefruit from the nose are all but gone, there is a touch of lemon, but it’s far more gentle, like a lemon buttercream between fluffy vanilla sponge, dredged in icing sugar.


The finish is longer than I expected, and as the sweeter notes start to fade there is a spiciness that just wasn’t there before, this allows the walnuts and Brazil notes from the nose to reappear.

There is a touch of cedar and tobacco which carry the finish.  Every so often a floral note appears, only to be beaten back by cocoa butter and warm milk.

Overall Conclusions:

At first taste, this is not a particularly complex whisky, but given some time it is more multifaceted, with toffee sweet notes, milk chocolate and caramel.

There are sweet orchard fruits, gentle cereals and a surprising note of lemon, with grapefruit keeping this from becoming too sweet.

This is incredibly easy drinking.  It’s fair to say that this isn’t a particularly memorable dram, but that by no means detracts from the pleasantness of this whisky.

Easy drinking and enjoyable, this is one you could quite easily drink without needing to think about it, but if you want to spend the time analysing it, then there is plenty to be found.

At this price this is one to keep on the shelf for your friends that don’t think they like whisky, a fantastic beginner’s dram.

Kirsty Clarke (@KirstyClarke29)



A lemon meringue pie on the nose, quite creamy with sharp astringent notes pointing towards a young whisky.  More citrus appears at the tail end.


The first thing I notice is how different the palate appears to be from the nose.  Hotter than I expected, though after a while the cream note come through.

This is quite oaky, which belies its young age, though this soon dissipates leaving some peach, and summer berries coating the mouth. By now the whisky has cooled down and a strawberries and cream taste is all that is left.


Medium to long finish that is quite cool, almost menthol like, but still holding on to the creaminess.

Overall Conclusions:

Glenrothes is a distillery that I don’t quite see eye to eye with, and although this whisky is pleasant and inoffensive it still doesn’t have a wow factor that would keep me reaching for the bottle.

For under £30 it certainly is a whisky that isn’t breaking the bank and one that you can afford to try and see what you think.  For me however, I would spend my money elsewhere in the G&M range.

Stewart Craigon (@StewartCraigon)

Everybody needs a Whisky Corner in their life.

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