Monday, December 20, 2010

Key Lime Pie: The Glenrothes Select Reserve

Located in Speyside, The Glenrothes Select Reserve is the flagship malt for this distillery. It is made distinctive by its grenade-like bottle, which is fat, round and unlike many other traditional bottles. This distiller is unusual in another way, with its setup similar to a vineyard, with product lines in vintages rather than age statements. I guess the positive side of this method is that its makes the consumer think twice about the age, at least until they do the math.

My curiosity with this malt started with its owners at the time, the Edrington Group, custodians of other great malts such as The Macallan and Highland Park. I figure anything in this family must be worth trying? Since drinking my way through a bottle I have since discovered Edrington Group sold the distillery to Berry Bros & Rudd in return for the blended malt labels of Cutty Sark and The Famous Grouse (which I believe both contain Glenrothes in the blend).

Enough with the history, for my mind this is a very unusual Speyside malt. Its very subtle and to fully enjoy it requires a good swish around the mouth to release the burst of fresh lemon-citrus flavour.

On the nose: there are strong honey, liquorice and vanilla notes. Nothing too alcoholic, but there's a sense of youth.

Upon tasting the strong citrus content hits you, lots of fresh lemon/lime, and a strong pepperiness pervades. Since the Select Reserve is a combination of different aged Glenrothes malts, my guess is there are some young casks in the mix to get that zestiness? To this end it could be enjoyed as a great summer whisky.

There's no hint of peat. The finish has the slightest hint of vanilla. Although with each dram the whisky settles and the sweeter vanilla notes start to become more dominant.

Remember you really need to swill this malt around the mouth to open up the bounty of citrus flavours present.

To give a dram, I would say four-and-a-half out of seven bolts. Definitely drinkable, starts with an explosion of pepper before mellowing with each dram, becoming very subtle. I like it because it is not like a typical Speyside, nonetheless I would probably always find another Speyside to sit down too if needed. The jury is out on whether I would purchase it again.

The member formerly known as Secretary.