Today we’re tasting the second Glenrothes single cask in the 2015 Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar bottled by Weymss Malts. This one is a 25yo that was matured in a sherry butt. The previous one, “Kumquat Cluster,” was a 22yo also matured in a sherry butt.
These guys seem to like big butts.
No, not that kind of butt! This kind (the one on the left, that is. The one on the right is a bourbon barrel):
Being that the “Kumquat Cluster” was perhaps the first Glenrothes I’ve truly enjoyed, I wonder if this big butt whisky will procure a similar result. Let us see…
On the nose — Very fragrant, almost incense like.
Damp sandalwood, indiscernible cooking spices, walk-in humidor, loads and loads of CT Shade Grown cigar wrappers, whisky spilt on a leather bound book, used books, cedar oil. I could live in this glass right now.
In the mouth — Orange oil, new suede, tinned fruits, orange juice/soy sauce mix for basting, warm honey, hints of clove.
Lightly oily mouthfeel.
Finish — Slightly spicy and fairly long with lasting citrus and used books.
In sum — These guys are going to turn me into an old-Glenrothes junkie! Drop dead gorgeous whisky.
A whiff of peat lurks beneath like a boat carrying passengers such as anise pizzelle cookies, gooseberries, acrylic varnish, fresh mustard seeds, and clementine compote with honey along the River Styx (I hope they have money for the boatman!).
In the mouth — Starts off quiet but as the mouthfeel begins to thicken, the clementine-like citrus note I got on the nose presents itself.
Celery stalks, celery salt, and jicama, like being thrown through the CERN particle collider, smash into notes of kumquat, paraffin wax, white pepper, and asian pear.
Finish — Short to medium. Hints of white pepper and *maybe* a little more citrus.
In sum — A great whisky that you can either just sit and enjoy or pick apart. On a day like today, I wish I had more of this so I could just sit and relax!!
Dram # 11 brings us a Weymss Malts whisky entitled “Kumquat Cluster” which is a 21yo Glenrothes single sherry butt, cask # 3343.
Based on the color, which is fairly light, I’d have to say this is a refill butt.
There is a joke in there somewhere. I’ll leave you to that.
The Glenrothes and I normally do not get along. The spirit character usually doesn’t sit with my palate but I know they have a great following.
Though, truth be told, I do wish their OB bottlings were at a higher ABV. They’re usually at 40% or 43%, chill filtered and with caramel color added. I think if they slowly moved to 46%, they’d do a great job bringing their followers to the world of non-chill filtered and no-caramel color added whiskies. The grass is greener on this side, people.
Still, they put out a host of whiskies, various vintages, that people go head over heals for. They must be doing something right, right?
Back to the whisky at hand though. As an independently bottled cask of The Glenrothes, this, I would hope, offers something that the OB releases do not offer. At first glance, it’s 46% NCF and no caramel color is added. That’s a start. At 21 years of age, this will be the oldest Glenrothes I’ve had to date.
Let’s see what happens.
On the nose — Citrus laden melting caramel cubes. Some attic wood and a hint of sour milk (in a good way, trust me on this one). Pecan pie filling, young strawberries, Alpha-Bits cereal sans the marshmallows, a hint of Ovaltine.
The attic wood tells me this is a Glenrothes but everything else just falls into place so nicely.
In the mouth — Now I see where they got the Kumquat Cluster name. It’s like drinking fresh kumquat juice, skin and all.
A touch of pepper, lots of malt, hints of fresh and dried figs, date rolls (sans almond), mint tea, some Chinese Five Spice to boot!
Finish — Long, malty, citrusy, hints of pepper.
In sum — Cracking whisky. I was really dreading this one but, wow, I was impressed. This is a whisky I’d reach for on a daily basis. Quite nice indeed.
Unnamed Islays seems to be the way things are going now when it comes to independently bottled cask of Islay whisky. Most, based on comparisons to “Original Bottlings,” or “Owner Bottlings,” seem to be Caol Ila, Ardbeg or Lagavulin if you’re really lucky. All I’ve tasted have been great <shameless plug> includingthe 3, soon to be 4 “Undisclosed Islay” Single Cask Nation releases</shameless plug>.
This one is the first, however, that I will taste that is not bottled at full cask strength. Another 43% ABV for this Samaroli. Samaroli = elegance in my mind though I’ve rarely seen anything lower than 45% ABV until now.
Let’s see what happens with this 9yo at 43%:
On the nose — Soft peat wreathed in lavender rests on a bed of licorice nibs. Heather to the fore with gorse in the distance.
Some iodine and hospital beds make themselves known as does beach pebbles and blue slate.
A flinty minerality brings me in to sip…
In the mouth — Initial pepper sting that sticks to the tip of the tongue as the oily build dances about mid-palate. If I had to guess, I’d say this is a Caol Ila.
Very edgy stuff, not rounded in any way, which is nice. You get the softness from the lower ABV but the edginess from the youth of the whisky.
Think flint stones (not Flintstones) meets burnt brush and driftwood meets seaweed and burning peat meets dandelion jam and lavender with a hint of lemon rind.
Finish — Lasting, citrusy and sooty
In sum — What a way to enjoy a younger Islay whisky. Though I normally prefer the brash in-your-face-ness of young Islay whisky, the water tamed it to the perfect just-sit-and-relax ABV. My initial reaction was “another 43% whisky from Samaroli, really?” However, this was simply loverly whisky. I enjoyed the interplay between youth and elegance (by way of lower ABV).
Region – Kentucky – Special pick by Gene at Warehouse Liquors – Single Barrel # 922 Rick House “N” – Floor 5-3-3, 55% ABV (multiply ABV x 2 to get “proof” – I really prefer the use of ABV, less multiplication, and more direct – come on America!!!).
Number of bottles ?? Cost: $55
I bought this bottle on the suggestion of Warehouse Liquors store proprietor, Gene. If you’re ever in Chicago, Warehouse Liquors is a sight for sore whisk(e)y eyes. Like Binny’s, Kenwood, Antioch (and many others… the list could go on, really), Warehouse Liquors is a whisk(e)y destination that helps put Chicago on the map. Beyond the store itself (300+ ‘Murrican whiskeys, and 650+ single malt whiskies, Scotch and otherwise), it is Gene himself that puts Warehouse liquors on the map. A fountain of knowledge, that one.
Ok, so, the whiskey… I have never, ever, been a fan of the Russell’s Reserve Single Barrels. Most people love these releases but it tends to not fit my flavor profile. Each to their own, right?
However, Gene is one of those in the whisky industry that I trust. His knowledge, his taste, etc… He’s been able to gauge my palate pretty well, and he’s done so in a fairly quick fashion. So, when he suggested I buy this RR SB that he picked, I said no (the first time). Did I mention that I just don’t like RR SBs?
Then I came back to Chicago this week, and he pressed me again. Who am I to say no to someone a second time? Sometimes you just gotta say…
So, against my better judgement based on the releases I prefer to stay aware from, but in favor of my judgement on Gene, his selections, and suggestions based on his knowledge of my palate, I pressed ahead and got a bottle.
My thoughts? Funny you should ask…
On the nose — The first note is big, and it is buttered popcorn (and not a bowl of cherries, as I assume to be smacked with when it comes to the RR SBs).
The nose is a little hot, which is to be expected (potentially) given the 55 ABV%. After a couple minutes in the glass, the heat goes away (far away), and I detect cooked tangerine skins, citrus pith, crushed vanilla pods and soft oak.
Surprisingly, given that this is a #4 char (which is a heavy char, by the way), I’m not smacked in the face with oak. This makes me happy as the grains are fully present here, as are bourbon soaked cherries (subtle note, and yum!).
There’s a cologne note here, too. Elegant. Not Axe, not old spice, something old worldy.
Wow, now there’s a note of turkish delights, too (rose water, pistachio and powdered sugar). Call me happy so far!
In the Mouth — *Easy* entry, oily mouthfeel. Slightly herbaceous but balanced by candied orange peel and stewed fruits.
I can not stress this enough – the mouthfeel is fantastically unctuous.
Because this is not smacking you with oak, this whiskey demands that you focus on the grains. So, let’s do that, shall we?
There’s a corn sweetness here that makes me pine for autumn. Subtle rye spice, hints of caraway. Maraschino cherries (real homemade ones, not that jarred stuff you find everywhere).
Finish — Hints of citrus, spice and soft oak. Slightly tannic, and medium in length.
In sum — Either I’m starting to dig RR SBs or I’ve found two this year that I like (the other being from Gordon’s Fine Wines out of MA – review to follow shortly-ish).
What I really enjoyed about this one was that it wasn’t all wood and cherries. This is complex, and a fine pick that brings you out of your bourbon-comfort zone, and challenges you. Not that bourbons aren’t challenging. Rather, the oak tends to make flavors dense. And with this one, it’s all about the grain with oak as a component instead of a dictator. This one is a drinker and worth the $$ paid, no doot aboot it.
Thanks for pushing me, Gene. You were right. Great barrel selection!