Glenrothes 1998 vintage

Speyside region – 43%ABV – $50

Whisky hand grenades.  More often than not, if The Glenrothes is brought up in a whisky conversation (whisky comes up in conversation a few times per day, every single day of my life.  I love it!), the shape of the bottle comes up.  Thankfully, for the sake of the whisky, the topic does then change over to the actual whisky itself.

In many conversations, however, the topic switches once again from how the whisky tastes to how the whisky is bottled (this topic is not exclusive to The Glenrothes in anyway).  More to the point, the lower ABV of 43% and the fact that the whisky is chill-filtered.  Many whisky geeks I talk to are at a point where they will simply stay away from a whisky unless it’s bottled at, at least, 46% ABV (when bottled at 46% ABV, chill-filtering is not “required”).  Put another way, bottled at 46%, the whisky will not cloud up if an ice cube is dropped in or if cold water is added to the whisky.

The good folks at Whisky For Everyone (who, by the way, are also members of the Whisky Round Table) have a great article on chill filtration.  It’s short and a must read (if you ask me).

So, being bottled at 43% ABV and being chill-filtered, what do we get?

On the nose  Hey, I like this!  Very rich and thick nose and even a bit nutty.

Hints of Amontillado sherry and all of the fun things that come with it – dried fruits, lemon and honey all encapsulated in a buttery flakey crust.

Baked apples and some of what I consider to be classically Glenrothes, damp wood.

On the mouth Both watery and thick/rich at the same time (I know that doesn’t make too much sense but there is a mix of feels).

The front and sides of my mouth seem to not be affected by the fluid but the top and back of my tongue tingle with cherry, pineapple and a touch of citrus.

More apples, chalk and wood dust.

Complex?  Not very.  Tasty?  Yes.  Easy drinking?  Scarily so…

Finish –  Over all drying and laced with vanilla.

In sum A solid whisky that I’d be happy to pour on (m)any occasion(s).  Round and rich, sweet yet dry.  It’s not mind-blowing but it’s well balanced and seemingly bottled at a nice ABV (43%).  I’d love to taste this at a higher ABV but not sure we need to mess with this one.  I wonder, however, if a non-chill filtered version of this (a version that retained all of the fatty acids and esters) might have made for a more complex whisky… the world may never know.

Special thanks goes out to Danielle K for the sample!

An interview with Dr. Bill Lumsden coming soon – Here’s your chance to ask him a question!

Most people know who Dr. Bill Lumsden is.  Those of you who don’t, he’s THE guy who is in charge of creating all of the Ardbeg & Glenmorangie expressions you enjoy day in and day out.

Glenmorangie Signet, Astar, Nectar D’Or, Quinta Ruban, Lasanta, Original, Sonnalta PX, Finealta… yup, we can thank Dr. Bill for those

Ardbeg Uigeadail, Corryvreckan, 10yo, Supernova, Alligator, Airigh Nam Beist, etc… we can thank him for those too.

So now you know who we’re talking about.  I’m going to be interviewing him very soon and I figured I’d give you the chance to offer up a question or two for Dr. Bill.  If you have one, please comment on this blog post.

Here & now is your chance!