The Glenrothes – Vintage Reserve

The Glenerothes Releases Vintage Reserve:  10 Vintages, No Age Statment

Latest Release from Berry Bros. & Rudd Spirits

Vintage Reserve
Vintage Reserve

On 8th October Berry Bros. & Rudd Spirits announced the release of the latest expression from award-winning Speyside distillery, The Glenrothes.

Berry Bros. & Rudd Spirits is delighted to announce the release of Vintage Reserve from award-winning Speyside distillery, The Glenrothes. As with many single malts, the new expression carries no age statement but, in an unprecedented move, all the Vintages used in this single malt have been revealed.

Vintage Reserve is the expression that best epitomises The Glenrothes Vintage Single Malt philosophy of bottling whisky only once it has reached the peak of its maturity. Vintage Reserve comprises 10 different Vintages from the last three decades: 1989, 1992, 1997, 1998, 2000, 2001, 2004, 2005, 2006, and 2007.

The combination of different Vintages aged in a variety of casks creates a balanced whisky with mature experience and vibrant youth: the most venerable constituent (a full 25 years old) is Vintage 1989, bringing mellow oak and dried fruits; the greatest proportion is Vintage 1998, adding soft, mature, sweet vanilla; the more youthful vintages add exuberance and lemon citrus notes.

Malt Master, Gordon Motion has hand-selected the very finest casks to create the Vintage Reserve, using character and flavour as his guide, not a pre-determined age. Gordon Motion’s flavour notes appear on the front label: “Mellow, soft fruits, citrus and honey.”

Ronnie Cox, The Glenrothes Brand Heritage Director, states: “Unlike other malts that bottle by age, we choose whiskies that represent the best of a particular year and marry them together when they are ready. Whisky enthusiasts want to know what they are buying and, as ever, we are happy to oblige by being open and transparent about the 10 Vintages assembled together for Vintage Reserve, our most complex Reserve to date.”

Launched late this year in Taiwan at an RRP of TW$1200 per bottle and for UK release next year.

 The Glenrothes Vintage Reserve tasting notes at 40% ABV

Appearance:

Brassy gold

Nose: 

Unusually fragrant, soft in style, wafts of mature citrus and honeycomb accompanied with characteristic red fruits.

Palate:        

Very soft silky/creamy mouth-feel. Red berry fruits swirl and dominate with time over the nebulous nuttiness.

Finish:         

Mid to long citrus and honeyed vanilla and the faint reminder of 1st fill sherry casks.

So now we’ve heard what they have to say, it’s my turn.

Kirsty

Nose:

Ok, first up a touch of young, new make spirit, not unpleasant, in fact a large juicy burst of fresh apples, and tangy apple skin, these are quickly replaced by a sweet note, less fresh green apples, and more tarte tatin.  There is that caramelised note wrapping around the apples, which is sugar soft and gooey sweet.  There is a hint of desiccated coconut and cinder toffee, the burnt bicarb and honeyed note, really lift this, and help carry it away from feeling too young.   There are fresh gooseberries, redcurrants and a cranberry tang.  There’s a sharp citrus note, freshly squeezed oranges with plenty of pulp, wrapped in a buttery sponge mixture.

Palate:

Not as sweet as you may have expected, for me there is a huge oaky note that hits first, before the sweetness the palate promised makes itself known.  There’s a little bit of fire and spice here, far more than you would expect for 40% ABV.  It’s savoury in places, stem ginger provides the heat with a touch of cumin.   There are definite touches of walnuts, and crushed walnut shell, and at times the tannins really take over, but once the sweetness comes in, it really changes the feel of this.  There is sticky penny toffees, and a touch of strawberry although fleeting, as it’s the sharper red berries that really own this dram.  The redcurrants, cranberries and tart raspberries really come to the fore, leaving the sweetness somewhat lacking.  As fruits fade out, there are cereal notes, Weetabix and hot milk are soothing but then the oak really steals the show, the cask influence is strong and picks this up just as you think it’s finished.

Finish:

The finish, starts off very dry, the oak and the tannins bringing in a touch of leather, like army boots needing broken in, and a hit of shoe polish, but then there is a gentle milk chocolate note, which is soon overpowered by the nuttiness, walnuts and some pistachios.  There are the red berry notes found on the palate, but they are sweet, almost jam like.  It fades out to milk chocolate, mandarins and soft lint, wrapped in hints of cotton wool.

Overall thoughts:

Not bad at all.  I think price will be key on this one, I don’t yet know what this will retail at, I would expect somewhere about the £40 mark, although I would prefer £35.  It is a good solid Glenrothes, there is nothing wrong with it, it’s maybe slightly more robust, and slightly dryer than you may expect, but there is still the complexity you would expect.  It’s less sweet than you may expect but it’s certainly easy drinking.  Would I buy this? Depending on price, definitely.  There is nothing extraordinary, but sometimes that is ok, this is a good solid, session whisky.  A great introduction to the Glenrothes range, and I expect affordable too.  I don’t think the 40% ABV is that noticeable as it’s a more rugged, bitter whisky than usual.   Overall well balanced with, spice, savoury notes and sweetness too.  Well worth watching out for a giving a try.

Kirsty Clarke (@Kirstyclarke29)

Stewart

Nose:

The first note that hits me strongly, is an almost quaver like cheesiness (the crisps not the musical note).  Thankfully this is quickly replaced by a welcoming chocolate orange note.  Some real oaky notes are present which hamper any great fruit notes coming through, although a warm apple pie does seem to be trying to escape the glass.

Palate:

Melted chocolate swirls in my mouth, some bitterness starts to appear leaving an almost acidic feeling.  Some baked apples and a dash of lemon juice help turn this around and make it more palatable.

Finish:

Short burst of lemon juice before this disappears with a whimper.

Overall thoughts:

I am not sure what this is trying to be, another NAS forced on to the market for what reason?  For the money it’s not too much of a hardship if you don’t like it, and it will no doubt have its fans, but for me, there is not enough bang for my buck.  Apparently this is made up of different vintages from across the years vatted together to make this “Vintage Reserve”, this is one whisky where the sum of its parts do not add up to something greater.

Stewart Craigon (@StewartCraigon)

With thanks to Berry Bros & Rudd for the very generous sample.

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