We've heard the the Glenthrothes spirit works very well in sherry, so we've got a younger and an older example to test this theory.
Glenrothes 1991 Adelphi Cask #5118
Distilled in 1996, the spirit rested in a refill sherry barrel for 25 years before being bottled in 2016, and released in 2022 as part of Adelphi’s Archive range.
Initially we’re getting a strong hit of ginger followed by some chocolate covered toffee, treacle, liquorice, blackcurrant and blackberry coulis / jam. Letting it sit in the glass and we find it develops some spice notes - with cumin and cayenne pepper being the most noticeable. Its not as sherried as we were expecting from something this old and given blind we might not have guessed it was in sherry.
Very citrus forward on the palate with an initial hit of lemon peel followed by some vanilla and honey sweetness. Then there’s some cinnamon and nutmeg that linger on a good length finish. It’s maybe a touch alcoholic for us, but it’s got a good mouthfeel. Air reveals a little treacle, and more warming heat in the form of black pepper and some chilli.
Nose (with water)
Water brings out more sweetness, and there’s now more chocolate with the ginger having become candied. Along with it there’s a hint of mustiness in the background that’s a touch off putting and we personally prefer the nose without water. The spice is still there but it’s been muted somewhat.
Palate (with water)
Water balances out the heat a little, and we’re find more notes we relate to a sherried whisky, but it’s still nothing like a sherry bomb. We’re getting some Whittaker’s chilli hot chocolate, and more blackcurrant, but the sweeter notes have been softened slightly. It retains its good mouthfeel, but the finish has gained a burnt coffee note that lingers. It’s not massively intense but wasn’t there before adding water.
We’d love to know a little bit more about the cask as when we bought this bottle it was listed as a sherry cask, but that’s not stated on the label, and we’d expect more sherry influence after 25 years. Anyway we digress, it’s an interesting dram which we enjoyed trying but wouldn’t be desperate for another bottle. Saying that If you like spicy and sweet whisky you’ll enjoy this more than us.
Claxton’s Warehouse No.8 Glenrothes Cask #C21026
Distilled on the 1st July 2009 and matured in a PX sherry octave for 12 years. Only 68 bottles were released.
The nose opens with some dark red fruits - red plums, and cherries. There’s an almost smoky note that follows, before the sherry shines through with some raisins / prunes, and trailing behind a hint of tobacco. Giving it air and there’s some creme brûlée, custard cream biscuits, and strawberry syrup. Even at 51.8% can get your nose right in the glass and not detect the alcohol.
There’s less sherry sweetness here than we expected, but we can pick out vanilla, and treacle. It’s followed by lots of dark chocolate, and a note that reminds us of an espresso martini. It has a good mouthfeel, but there’s a fair alcohol bite here, and it feel like it’s numbing our palate. What sweetness is here fades on the finish quickly to leave burnt coffee and spice. Going back to it and we want to describe the palate as a dark chocolate chilli and ginger fondant sweet.
Nose (with water)
With water the fruit is less prominent, and we’re initially hit by a note that reminds us of a spiced minced pie. It’s followed by an almost ashy note, lightly roasted coffee and more chocolate.
Palate (with water)
Water opens this up and we’re getting a strong note of chocolate covered coffee beans. The alcohol is now more in balance. It’s still a little spicy on the finish, but easier to handle. Raisins are now the dominant fruit on the palate. It’s gained a golden syrup note, and the sherry influence is now of a sweeter variety. It’s got a medium finish with spicy ginger, chilli and faint cinnamon remaining on the palate.
It’s a spicy dram which packs a punch alcohol wise, and we would say it tastes like the ABV is higher than 51.8%. It’s something we’d see ourselves sipping in front of a log fire. Again, this is one for people who prefer their whisky spicy and sweet. For us we’d happily have another dram or two.
- 10 - Perfection. A whisky that we’ll remember forever.
- 9 - Amazing. We’d pay through the nose for a bottle.
- 8 - Great. Pick this up at RRP.
- 7 - Good. Happy to have a dram or two but wouldn’t buy a bottle.
- 6 - Passable. Would accept a dram, but wouldn’t seek it out.
- 5 - Poor. Would drink if it was the only option.
- 4 - Bad. Maybe it can be saved by ginger beer?
- 3 - Awful. It can't be saved by ginger beer.
- 2 - Pour it out
- 1 - We’ve never tried a whisky rated this low and hopefully never will.
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