Glenrothes 1997 (Whiskybase)

Review 2017-032 «Specifics» Single malt • 90.000 Bottles on the wall • Vintage 1997 • Bottled in 2017 • 58.8% Alcohol • Matured for 19 years in a sherry butt (#4504) • Non-chill filtered • Natural coloured • Sourced from Glenrothes (Speyside, Scotland) • Bottled by Whiskybase (WB) • Rotterdam • The Netherlands • Limited availability (562 bottles) • Still available the Whiskybase shop (price €90) • Whiskybase #90000

STORY. The Whiskybase database was initiated by Menno Bijmolt (aka Bachess) and Cees-Jan van Dijk in 2008 to provide an overview of all the available single malt whiskies including details such as alcohol percentage, cask number, availability, prices, and most importantly rating of fellow whisky lovers. This initiative turned out to be something that many of us were waiting for. After almost 10 years over 34,000 members have filled the database with almost 800,000 rates, 3950 brands, over 10,000 collections, and 90,000 bottles. The latter now leads to a celebratory bottling, the subject of this review, which encompasses a Glenrothes from 1997. In the meantime, Menno and Cees-Jan have expanded their initiative in 2012 with a speciality shop in the south of Rotterdam and since last year the organisation of a yearly event, the Whiskybase Gathering, which this year will take place on November 25th.


APPEARANCE. Simple and probably a tad boring design, colour of the contents appears like caramel and is natural coloured.

NOSE. It is light with fresh dough, a hint of cacao powder and barley sugar. There is a limited influence of the sherry so I guess this was a refill cask. There is pastry, and wait, there is some sherry in the background with grapes, fig jam, and marmalade. I must say that I like it, very much. (water) It does not need that much water, only a drop suffices, but it remains whispery, although very pleasant. Not for the lover of heavy-sherried versions of Glenrothes. I find orange skin, both fresh and caramelised, and it becomes a bit sweeter in the nose. Some sweet honey, caramel, and golden raisins, fresh plums. Now the sherry comes more to front, and it is lovely, and it remains delicately balanced between sweetness, acidity and spiciness.

TASTE. The palate is slightly sour, barley, dry grass, leaves. It is very much back to basic spirit. There are freshly baked croissants, short crust pastry, some spices like cardamon and nutmeg, and cinnamon sticks. (water) The citrus fruits comes to front now, which bring a lovely freshness to it, more acidic fruits like grapefruit, orange and kiwis, perhaps even some melons and unripe bananas join in. Then more spicy cakes, pepper, cinnamon, cardamon (lots). Remains perfectly in balance with more oranges, pepper, cardamon and raisins.

VERDICT. I think this comes close to the pure distillate from Glenrothes distillery, at least much closer compared to many more heavily sherried versions.  More importantly, it shows that the Glenrothes distillate is an excellent one, one we should see much more of.  Very well selected by the guys from Whiskybase. And I am looking forward to the 100.000 bottles on the wall.

Recommended for the ones that search for the true spirit of Glenrothes.

Many thanks to Henry for the sample!

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