Review: The Glenrothes 10, 12, 18 Years Old, and Whisky Maker’s Cut (2019)
Late last year The Glenrothes embarked on a bold rebranding, revamping much of its vintage-dated whisky and converting it to age statemented releases called the Soleo Collection (a reference to the 100% start-to-finish sherry cask aging used in all the whiskies in this lineup). Soleo spans five expressions, including 10, 12, 18, and 25 year old bottlings, plus one non-age-statement bottle called the Whisky Maker’s Cut.
We reviewed the 12 year old when it was released, and finally we’re digging into the rest of the collection (sans the 25 year old, which was not available for tasting). A fresh look at the 12 year old is included as well for the sake of comparison.
The Glenrothes 10 Years Old (2019) – Lots of heat here, and plenty of grain-heavy youth, too. The sherry creeps out on the nose, however, though it takes some effort to muscle past the somewhat weedy elements of the aroma. On the palate, expectations largely rule: Chewy grain, orange peel, cedar box, and some baking spice notes are all in effect, but the ultimate impact is fairly rustic and not the most fulfilling in the Glenrothes stable. 80 proof. B- / $38 [BUY IT NOW FROM CASKERS]
The Glenrothes 12 Years Old (2019) – I don’t think this whisky has changed in the last 10 months, and my notes are very similar to my prior review. There’s plenty of sherry-driven citrus up front, followed by a bold almond note, making for a quite nutty expression of Glenrothes. The malt is far more rounded and better integrated into the whole than in the 10 year old, with a much more soothing, lingering, pastoral finish. I’m finding I like it a bit more now than I did then, actually. Definitely worth the few extra bucks over the 10 year old. 80 proof. B+ / $45 [BUY IT NOW FROM CASKERS]
The Glenrothes 18 Years Old (2019) – Notes of lemon peel kick things off on the nose, followed by an intense and growing note of orange oil, furniture polish, and a stronger almond kick. Rich and enveloping, it offers iconic, well-sherried aromas that wouldn’t be out of place in a glass of Macallan. The palate finds much of the same going on, with an intensely nutty, orange-laden character melding with the slightly more aggressive alcohol level to give the whisky a more unctuous, almost syrupy body that recalls maple, marzipan, cookie dough. The finish is long, soothing, and laden with what feels like PX sherry (though it probably isn’t). Quite a delight. 86 proof. A- / $120 [BUY IT NOW FROM CASKERS]
The Glenrothes Whisky Maker’s Cut (2019) – No age statement, but a considerably higher abv here. That higher alcohol level really makes the sherry pop on the nose, although I also get a bit of a smoky kick here that I didn’t find in any of the other whiskies. On the palate, that smoky element lingers, giving the body a peppery, beefy note that is slightly at odds with the citrus-driven sherry notes. The beefy, smoky elements continue to reign on the finish, alongside a somewhat green note. 97.6 proof. B / $80 [BUY IT NOW FROM CASKERS]