Glenrothes 20, 1997-2017, Sherry Butt, 50.1% – Whisky-Fässle

Around 2017 a massive parcel of Glenrothes 1997 was released to brokers, or many bottlers only responded to things being available around that time. On this blog I reviewed three of them, but there were many more.

A bit of quick Whiskybase-ing tells me there are 50 1997 vintages released in 2017, with 44 more released in 2016. So, something happened around the 20 years mark, for this distillery.

Understandably, these were rather popular since it is well known that independent releases of Glenrothes are generally very good, where (most of) the official bottlings are okay at best. Generally, they’re quite boring, let’s call it what it is.

Image from Whiskybase

This one came from my sample stash. Someone must have given it to me semi-recently since it wasn’t too far in the back. The color of the whisky was very dark, so we can already deduce that this is a typical Glenrothes, with a good amount of sherry influence. Upon checking the whiskybase page I already saw that people tend to be enthusiastic about this one, so let’s dive right in!

There’s absolutely massive sherry on the nose, with heaps of the dry yeasty notes, baking spices and European oak sawdust. Some almond and raisin twig bitterness. Mulch, as in, the sweetness of decaying and rotting wood on a forest floor. Very earthy with even a hint of fried mushroom in there. Lots of baking spices, dates, plums.

The palate has some bite to it, some chili pepper, some sharp oak notes. There’s not much of that biting, lingering heat though. Dark dried fruits like plums and dates, with the bitter note of their stones and some dark chocolate. A whiff of espresso, even. Not too sweet at all, but spicy and complex instead. Woody and woodsy. Old, wet wood, almonds, raisin twigs.

The finish has some bite left, but less than before. That gives more room to the fruity side of things, without completely leaving the bitterness behind. Baking spices, dates, plums, a bit of bitterness and dryness.

Hello Darkness my old friend! I’ve come to sip from you again! Anyway, this is a rather typical 1997 Glenrothes with massive sherry throughout, well integrated and with many different flavors to discover. It doesn’t have too much PX-y sweetness, which gives more room for more interesting flavors of bitterness, nuts and some spices.



About Sjoerd de Haan-Kramer

I'm very interested in booze, with a focus on whisky. I like to listen to loads of music and play lots of Magic: the Gathering, and board games too. I'm married to Anneke, have two daughters Ot and Cato, a son Moos and a cat called Kikker (which means Frog, in Dutch). I live in Krommenie, The Netherlands.
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