This Glenrothes was matured for 20 years in an ex-bourbon hogshead and then re-racked into a 2nd fill hogshead that had been subjected to a heavy toast and medium char. Spicy & Sweet profile.
Nose: Unreduced, this is quite lovely – a combination of hedgerow berries with plenty of orange influence (zesty peels, fresh juice and liqueur) sitting alongside gummy bear sweetness. Underpinning the nose is a real breadiness – toast and freshly baked loaves. With water this is quite the different beast – still fruity – but now with wallpaper paste, burnt honeycomb and some balsamic sharpness. It’s not quite as successful.
Taste: Tangentially different to the nose. A dry, nutty and earthy mixture – salted peanuts, cashews and highly spiced chocolate cake combining with furniture polish and a mixture of white grapes and Congnac. The breadiness remains, but its deeper – malt loaves and heavily toasted cereals. In the back-palate, it grows increasingly bitter and woody, offering dry aromatic spice and leatheriness. With water, the toasted cask comes out to play – singed wood and heat scorched planking.
Finish: Medium to long, with bitter pepper, tanned leather and a slight lift from lime cordial.
This Glenrothes is an odd whisky – it’s also one that’s better undiluted, where the brighter, fruitier aromas and flavours can dance a little. Water introduces heavy wood influence, which is both jarring and detracts from the spirit. Nevertheless, the charred flavours from the toasted hogshead are all rather interesting. Perhaps this one is just a touch overcooked?