Two nice samples came my way for the holidays, a dark and a brighter one, both really nice drams, which were highlights on the frontporch of my bungalow.
Glenrothes 20 y.o. malt mountains 1997 – 2017, sherry cask, 50,3%
Comment: Glenrothes ranks really high among blenders, and rightfully so. I also adore this malt with its bloodorange-tang. Oliver Späth already had a nice Glen Keith, Tobermory and the astonishing Bladnoch in his range, and this bottling is his latest. In this one, the sherry is dominant yet not overpowering, it goes in a balsamic direction altogether. There is more to it than just raisins, as some modern casks are these days. It is kirsch gateau (chocolate cake soaked in cherry schnaps) with hazelnuts and fudge, a dessert dram, earthy like a Glendronach but less dry, also whiffs of orange peel, humidor and cedar wood are to be nosed. On the palate it is very typical, a well-balanced sherry dram with blood orange and forest floor. Overall not overly complex but simply good at what it is and does. Long satisfying finish. Thanks Oliver! Good pick, again. Available here.
Aultmore 33 y.o. OB ‘Exceptional Cask Series’ for China Whisky Society 1983 – 2016, sherry cask finish, 678 btl., 53,3%
Comment: Don’t these new Aultmore bottles look beautiful (clear glass, that is), you wanna touch them. A rare one for China, let’s see: Oh my God, this is a monster of complexity: honey and hay meet the sweet side of oak – this what bursts out of the glass at first. Then licorice, honey, butter, sugar-glazed pastry, Werther’s Originals, vanilla and fruits (pink grapefruit, kiwi, plums, grapes) join a solid malty backbone of the classic kind (old style). After a while it reminds me of a walk in an olive garden in summer bloom, also ruccola and hot mulch. It arrives with great nervosity on the palate, quite some action is going on there. Like an aquarel painting all the aromatic dots are there but only hinted at. The interesting acidity is slowly becoming sweetness, everything happens in style and is well-integrated. Waves of tasty stuff return in the finish: sweet malt and pastry again (now with vanilla sauce), honey glace, green tea, sycamore bark and so much more. Gimme a bottle! Thanks Boris!