By Alex Macina
It’s tough to find a scotch that appeals to people of different experiences and palates, however many find that Glenrothes is one that has enough complexity for a refined palate and is smooth enough for the occasional scotch drinker. The flavors of fruit, citrus, and vanilla will keep your palate occupied while providing a pleasantly long finish. Due to its approachable nature, Glenrothes is capable of pleasing all levels of scotch drinkers.
My first experience with this Speyside gem was on a recommendation. A friend told me that he felt it’s one of the most complex scotches he’d tried. Having had and enjoyed many single malts from Speyside, I decided the claim he made needed to be put to the test! He showed me the bottle as a reference point that sparked my interest even more.
Besides the strong recommendation, the uniquely squat bottle that Glenrothes is packaged in is something that will certainly catch anyone’s attention. While at the liquor store I tried for a long time to figure out the age of this single malt. I couldn’t figure it out by anything on the bottle or primary label, but rather a secondary label that is affixed with the unique vintage. By affixing a vintage to nearly all of its line, Glenrothes makes a connection with another beverage of distinction, wine. Although scotch does not develop in the bottle in the same way that wine does, each vintage had certain distinctions. Every year, the master distiller creates a unique variation that expresses both the hallmarks of the distillery and the vintage. What this also means is that there’s only a limited amount of each vintage, thus when a vintage is gone, it’s gone for good.
When I got home the unique potential of this scotch had me excited for my first experience. I poured a dram and took a few healthy whiffs. Wow! This scotch is telling a story indeed. When taking in the aromas, it’s essential not to put your nose in the glass as you would a glass of wine, but rather slightly off the edge, the harsh alcohol levels in scotch will overwhelm your sense of smell. Also, it’s not advised to repeatedly go back as your ability to identify different aromas will begin fade and cause them to muddle. With the Glenrothes there’s no mistaking the intense vanilla that jumped out. Because of its intensity of aroma, vanilla was also the first flavor that I was able to identify. The finish was unexpectedly long and brought out many other flavors including citrus and fruit on the back palate and a hint of spice. It was a wonderful first impression.
Since my initial experience, I have started sharing Glenrothes with all ranges of scotch drinkers. The line-up is equally as flexible as its qualities. They make an everyday drinker in the form of the Select Reserve, which offers an entry point and captures the essence of what Glenrothes is all about. If you’ve tried and loved this non-vintage scotch, there are numerous vintages available that can range anywhere from $65 to $500+. So for all of you who wish to celebrate your kids graduating from college, the 1978 has your name on it.
Regardless of your preferences, The Glenrothes offers an expressive, high-quality experience that can be enjoyed by the most novice scotch drinkers, as well as the life-long connoisseur. It’s become a staple of our gatherings, as it provides something for everyone. After you try it, I have a feeling it will have play a similar role for you.
A former bartender with over 17 years experience, most recently at Wine Spectator ‘Grand Award’ winning Stonehedge Inn & Spa, Alex Macina has a breadth of knowledge and passion surrounding fine wine and Scotch. Alex found out early and sought to convey the power these fine libations have in turning an ordinary gathering into an enhanced experience.