Among my good friends, Glenrothes is a favorite distillery. The Glenrothes '89 was given as a "Best Man" gift many years ago, and the various expressions continue to be a crowd favorite to this day. I have had a bottle of the 1991 (bottled in 2005, so 14yr) for a while now, and it deserves a thorough review. It is a fantastic whisky, setting itself apart from the pack time after time with those new to scotch and those who are intimately familiar. The Glenrothes 1991 is definitely a bottle worth its price!
Nose: While sitting down for this review, I was already catching sweet vanilla notes from this whisky! Wow! Upon proper nosing, I pick up sherry, vanilla, and warm nectar. There is just the slightest saltiness, but it is mostly just a reminiscent aroma, not strong at all. There are spicy notes coming out upon further reflection. I expect to pick out floral notes, as that would be typical of Glenrothes, but I am reminded that the character of this bottle according to the distillery is that of "berry fruits, vanilla, and butterscotch." This description is fitting, indeed.
Body: The whisky has a light to medium body; very smooth, oily and warm.
Palate: Spicy notes hit the tongue, as caramel develops around the sides of the mouth. This sweet nectar of a whisky envelopes the mouth with warmth, developing into a spicy pastry just out of the oven. The saltiness that was ever so slight on the nose is absent entirely from the palate.
Finish: Sherry finish, with plenty of spice, putting off a sweet aroma. Not dry at all. The spicy notes continue long after the whisky is absent. I find myself licking the roof of my mouth, wanting more!
This whisky is head and shoulders better than the Select Reserve, which I also enjoy. While the SR is richer, the 91 is crisper, with a clean taste, not muddled at all. Each aroma is unique, and each taste is true. However, the bottle prices are as diverse as the tasting notes, with the 91 being nearly twice the price as the SR.
I have seen the '94 and '98 in one of the larger stores, but have not yet had the opportunity to taste either. I have had the '89, but none of the older vintages.