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This is one of those expressions that revises one's impression of an entire distillery. Previously, I knew Glenrothes as a relatively unremarkable Speyside maker that puts out a lot of no-age-statement expressions in funny-shaped bottles that resemble Blanton's. Now, I know them as the makers of Glenrothes '95. The combined effect of the oak and sherry aging here produces the scent and taste of a malted chocolate milkshake, with a pleasing mouthcoat and a moderately long finish. As expected with a Speysider, there are some dark fruit flavors at times, although this whisky would never be mistaken for the rich, dates-and-figs flavor of Glendronach or other heavily sherried whiskies, like the better Macallan expressions. Nor does this appear to be the distillery's aim, as the idea seems to be to produce a sweet, rich, balanced expression. In this, they succeed spectacularly. Interestingly enough, despite the huge DC premium on drinks, this 20-year old Speyside scotch was going for a (relatively) affordable $9 an ounce at Boundary Stone. Keep in mind, it's all relative, as the bar charged the same price for Ardbeg 10, Laphroaig 10, and Talisker Storm -- each around $50-60 in liquor stores. Glenrothes '95 is a $100+ bottle of scotch, so I had to give it a go. I'm glad I did!
Note that this review is for the later version of Glenrothes 1995, which was bottled in 2014 and is an 18-19 year old whiskey.
February 25, 2018 (edited March 31, 2018)
2.0 out of 5 stars
1995 vintage -- distilled in 1995 and bottled in 2010 (15 years old). Purchased in 2017 for $60. Intense nose of honey and over-ripe apples. Astringent fruit on the palette leading to a medium-length hot finish. Ultimately, a disappointment after the nosing. If this is the best of Glenrothes, I will pass.