Friday Tastings: The Glenrothes Triple Double

Three ways to get acquainted with a relatively unknown Speyside single malt.

Not too long ago only whisky blenders were hip to The Glenrothes single malt—it’s the primary component in Cutty Sark, and also seasons The Famous Grouse, yet never stood alone. In 1994, the distillery, located in the Speyside village of Rothes, started sharing with the rest of us, and for that we say cheers. It’s a great introductory Scotch—light, fruity, with a lively citrus vein—that’s also appreciated by pickier palates. Worth noting is the fact that most Glenrothes expressions, aged in some combination of bourbon and sherry casks, are released under vintages, not age statements. This keeps each expression rather limited because you can always age more 12-year old, but you can’t make more 1991. Now they’ve introduced a tasting flight of sorts: three 100-milliliter miniatures (for your reference, that’s double the size of an airplane bottle) of different Glenrothes expressions. For $35, you’ll get generous samplings of the delicate Select Reserve, a vanilla-imbued afternoon sipper that goes down almost too easy; the new 1998, which—call us crazy—may well have been aged with some warm pineapple pie; and the silky 1985, a chewy dessert malt that begs for a post-prandial cigar. The package makes a unique gift, or a low-initial-investment way to get acquainted with a very neighborly whisky. Or both.

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