The Glenrothes Vintage Reserve, Revisited

This is the last entry in a series on the now-discontinued Glenrothes Vintage Collection. For the introductory diatribe    soapbox rant    unnecessary exposition background information, start with the Sherry Cask Reserve.

Like the rest of the “Vintage Collection” released in 2015, The Glenrothes Vintage Reserve was a way to dump together unused vintage-dated stocks and get away with classic NAS pricing (that is, more money for younger – on average – whisky). I suppose I can’t be too hard on that decision now that they’ve abandoned it in favor of age-stated bottles.

I actually reviewed the Vintage Reserve back when it was more in vogue, so if you’re curious about its provenance or my assorted mutterings on the topic of the ages of the barrels that went into the vatting, click away. The TLDR is that I thought it was interesting but overpriced and ultimately under-matured and forgettable. I also wondered then what I wonder now: A bottle labelled “Vintage Reserve” with no… uhm… vintage on it? I jest.

Thanks to Louis & Dalina for the gift!

Nose: Like the Sherry Cask Reserve, this has clear sherry presence on the nose, but here it’s a little rounder and sweeter and filled out with brown sugar, maple sugar candies, and marzipan. The aroma is not powerful (blame the ABV) but it is elegant and interesting.

Palate: Syrupy body. Sweet, with sherry-style dates and figs but also sugar cookies, cake frosting, and mulled wine with clove and star anise.

Finish: On the short side. The finish carries most of the palate notes, and fades with a much stronger anise (black licorice) note. In both cases, it’s well-rounded, nicely balanced (with sweetness) and lacking bitterness. Nice.

With Water: A few drops of water initially mute the aroma, necessitating a rest in the glass. After, I can’t detect much difference. No need for water here, especially at 40% ABV.

Overall: Distinctly better than both the Bourbon Cask Reserve and Sherry Cask Reserve, this contains the same sherry elements from the latter, the sweeter bakery notes of the former (minus the coconut, alas), and more. There’s a good amount of balance between the dry sherry and the sweet oaky notes. Obviously, I wish this were bottled with a little more concentration (46% ABV at least), but it’s a pleasant dram with a nice array of notes and enough depth to demand a second look.

I’m not sure what happened last time, but in this tasting I found that of the three entries in the Vintage Collection, this is the only one I would consider buying again. Not that is matters, as the whole collection is discontinued.

ScotchNoob™ Mark:

About The Distillery

Owned by The Edrington Group and distributed by London merchants Berry Brothers & Rudd, The Glenrothes is known for its vintage-dated releases and distinctive squat rounded bottle. A principal component of the Cutty Sark blend, and also included in The Famous Grouse. The distillery, located in the town of Rothes from which its name is derived, has ten stills and uses both wooden and stainless-steel washbacks. Spirit is filled into both ex-sherry and ex-bourbon casks, from which each vintage is carefully blended to achieve varying effects.
The Glenrothes Vintage Reserve, Revisited
40% ABV
ScotchNoob™ Mark:
Price Range: $45 - $60
Acquired: (100ml) from Reserve Sample Set. Thanks Louis!

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