Thursday, 8 November 2012

Whisky Discovery #230

The Glenrothes 1998 (43% abv, OB, D 17/12/98, Bottled 2011)
Speyside Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Circa £42.00 70cl
Speyside Single Malt Whisky
Dram No.3 of our Glenrothes education
So moving on to dram number three of our Sunday afternoon education and this, the latest core expression from the Glenrothes catalogue. Released in early 2012 as a replacement for the dwindling 1994 vintage.

This Vintage 1998 is the next Core Vintage to follow the Vintage 1991 and 1994, and it's the first of the vintages that have been bottled that were expressly laid down at origin to be bottled as Glenrothes on maturity and as such has a greater availability of stock than any of the previous bottlings.

This is also Gordon Motion’s first bottling as Malt Master and he describes it as: “It’s said that pictures speak a thousand words and this is like Carmen Miranda’s hat in a bottle. Tropical fruits lead with pineapple and mango developing into sweet bananas, coconut and classic Glenrothes vanilla pods.”

So What Did We Think?

Kat Said: If you have been reading the last 2 posts, you will know by now the key characteristics of The Glenrothes range. For this vintage the distillery has described it as ‘Carmen Miranda’s hat in a bottle’. Now some of you may know who she is, if you do I have to apologise now for my ignorance. For those who don’t, to put it in plan words, she was the lady that sang songs & acted on the silver screen back in the 40s/50s who wore crazy extravagant hats that’s covered in fruits and flowers. After Googling it, I instantly recognised her and can understand the analogy, completely agree.

I was picking up the same aromas that closely matched the official tasting notes: golden syrup, spicy and vanilla. I also picked up the citrus notes as I did in the previous samples but at the time it didn't connect with anything specific. The official tasting notes gave the citrus scent I smelt as lemongrass, so after reading this I too can pick up lemongrass in the glass.

It’s amazing the power of suggestion. For me the creaminess that I found in the Robur Reserve is as present here but there is tad more white pepper present. With water, it reveals the pineapple jam that I had picked up before in the Select Reserve.

As I sipped, I find it that it’s smoother than the previous samples with the same familiar richness and sweetness. I did pick up a woody taste, almost a light charcoal and malt, only very subtly, which were not described in the distillery official tasting notes. This made me doubt my taste buds, as I’m unsure if it’s down to my taste buds being correct, or my brain’s lower capacity to search my memory bank as my Mother’s lovely home cooked Thai dinner was settling nicely in my stomach, reaffirming the lazy Sunday feeling I had for most of that day. Have made a ‘note to self’ to sample this again a second time.  With water this whisky becomes silky smooth and creamy.

Out of the 3 so far, this has the longest finish and had the same peppery kick as the Robur Reserve. 

Dave Said: 1998 was the year I returned to the UK after seven years working in the Far East. It was the beginning of a new chapter for our family as we moved lock stock and barrel from Thailand to Bedfordshire. This whisky was distilled just before our first Christmas in the UK and around the time of my youngest daughters first birthday - happy memories!

But enough of my reminiscing, lets get back to the whisky. This seems to follow the same 'house style' and is richer and spicier with more pepper, but the creamy vanilla is always underlying. After a little while the nose opened up with Golden syrup, hints of lemon grass leather and thick cut marmalade.

On the palate it starts of sweet, lulling you into a false sense of security when the intense peppery fire kicks in for a short burst before settling back to fruity banana bread. With a drop of water the fierce pepper is calmed and it becomes smooth sweet and very creamy.

The smooth finish is slightly longer than the previous two drams with a fruity sweetness  a pinch of brine and the pepper spice.

If you would like to know more about the background of this whisky check out both The Glenrothes and the Berry Bros & Rudd websites. If you're on Twitter why not follow @TheGlenrothes and @berrybrosrudd

Many thanks to Berry Bros & Rudd for the tasting samples

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