Sunday, 11 November 2012

Whisky Discovery #232

The Glenrothes 1978 (43% abv, OB, D 3/11/78, Bottled 2008)
Speyside Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Circa £400.00 70cl
Our final dram of the afternoon and a Vintage from 1978
Our final dram of a Sunday afternoon exploring the range of The Glenrothes we has been given, saving the oldest till last. The Glenrothes 1978 Vintage is the latest expression from the distillery and, with very limited availability, is almost certainly the very last Glenrothes from the 1970's. It comprises a small selection of casks, hand-picked by Malt Master John Ramsay, at the very peak of their maturity.

Official Distillery Notes:
Appearance: Light burnished copper
Bouquet: Intense but approachable spicy plums, with floral top note
Palate: Rich, mature flavour, oak, vanilla and w
hite chocolate
Finish:Very long, rich and sweet
Distilled 34 years ago almost to the day when we tasted this
So What Did We Think?

Kat Said: The last in this series of tastings, we come to the Vintage 1978. Reflecting back on the last 4 whiskies, in this one all of flavours of the ‘house style’ is intensified. It has the same robustness as the 1995 Vintage, staying with the cast iron example from previous post, this would be a cast iron structure, like a viaduct. I got spices, rich stewed fruits, sticky dates and crème caramel.

Oddly with some water, I got mature cheddar cheese. Bit of a curve ball, as I have only sampled this the once, I will try to sample it a second time to see if this is a freak isolated occurrence, or I can pick this aroma up again.

Thankfully this whisky did not taste of any kind of cheese. Instead it’s very rich and sweet, not too dissimilar in taste and in consistency to a runny butterscotch sauce. With water I found this keeps the same characteristics, with no other strong characters coming through but noticeably more mellow. As if without water it’s a fast pace upbeat dance track where all the tastes are throwing some shapes on the dance floor, and with water they become observers on the fringes of the dance floor who are more interested in having great conversations and are dressed to kill so that they are still being noticed by everyone around them.

The finish on this one surprised me a little, as there’s a lot more going on than all the others. Its sweet, there’s vanilla, there’s oak then you get light spices come through and lingers for a good while to the end. With some water, the spices didn't linger as long and for me gave a creamier oaky finish.

Dave Said: I had to stop and think for a while when first nosing this. What was I doing in when this was being distilled, way back in 1978? I asked Kat and her partner Ben if they knew what they were doing before I realised neither of them had been born. We were tasting this whisky thirty four years almost to the day when this was being laid down in casks. I would have still been at school, it was a Saturday and both Grandstand and World of Sport would have been on TV - we had just three channels to choose from at that time! I'm not even sure if we had a video recorder then. Grease was in the charts and John Travolta and Olivia Newton John were at number one with 'You're the one that In want'!

But back to the whisky: This was the darkest of the expressions tasted on our Sunday afternoon and according to The Glenrothes character profile, sits at the bottom right corner, adjacent to the 1995 previously tasted. On the nose this is rich and fruity, stewed fruits; spicy plums, but also has the richness of polished wood and even reminded me of Kiwi boot polish (back at school again).

On the palate it was initially sweet with rich fruits, dark plums, prunes, dates and figs. There are vanilla notes, but less prominent and the 'signature' peppery kick is still there but so much more restrained than the earlier expressions, until right at the very end when it builds into something more powerful. With water stewed plums come to the forefront, and there is a creamy caramel flavour too.

This had the longest finish of the afternoon and followed the house style with the vanilla and peppery spice, but also had more wood in the finish. So was it the one that I wanted? Given the choice, money no object, YES! I would love a bottle of this on my shelf, however at around £400 for a bottle I don't think my budget will stretch that far right now, but it has been a privilege to be able to sample this vintage expression.

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

No comments: