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Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar 3rd Edition Day 8 Blog #141 – Malt Whisky Company Glenrothes 8 Year Old

G’day Sherry Cask lovers…. Today is for you. The peat geeks get their hit every week so shouldn’t you have a turn on a regular basis?

In the bustling (I use that term lightly as Scotland is generally anything but) region of Speyside where most of the Scottish distilleries exist there is one that keeps making appearances in our calendars. Glenrothes seen by many as a fairly innocuous house style has really shined for us with these single cask independently bottled expressions.

The Malt Whisky owned by Scottish legend extraordinaire Stuart Nickerson was one of the big hits in the 2nd edition showcasing especially how amazing younger Single Malt can be.

Glenrothes was built in 1878 and started producing the year after. The distillery is owned by the Edrington Group who used the bulk of it’s production for brands like Cutty Sark and Famous Grouse however in a twist that only Scotland can manage the Single Malt brand is owned by Berry Bros. & Rudd. Glenrothes has survived 4 major fires over the course of its life and as such is probably the hardiest distillery in Scotland. In cat lives does that mean it has 5 left?


Malt Whisky Company Glenrothes 8 Year Old – Bottled at the cask strength of 64.2%, no chill filtration or caramel of course. Cask number 37602 a refill Oloroso Hogshead.

Color:   A lovely reddish glow winking at the sherry influence and pretty decent for only 8 years and refill. Every cask is unique and this is a great example of that.

Nose:   Bovril (thick salty meat extract) and dark chocolate, burnt caramel mixed with a bag of asian spices, turmeric, paprika, cardamon and red chili flakes. This nose is immense and broods quietly like a trap door spider waiting patiently for a passing cricket.

Palate:  Freaking delicious and initially no where near the 64.2% on the tongue that I was expecting. Going down however all the way from the back of the throat right past the core to that warm center of my being it leaves a lasting trail. Juicy and coating with an oily parafin feel that keeps pumping flavor into every taste bud. Sweet vermouth and bitters, spices continuing from the nose into rich sherried notes.

Finish:   This whisky will love you for a very long time……. a very long time. The sherry really makes itself felt on the finish finally climbing over those spicy notes and leaving a lasting rich sweetness.

Water:   Just had to try a little splash of water in this beast. Second only to the huge A.D. Rattray Glen Moray of the second edition which was 64.8% this is an anomaly to say the least and especially for a Glenrothes. More of that caramel note and sweetness rises above the meaty spice. More sherry influence here and creamy cocoa with the water taming it a great deal. I think that the raw unbridled power of this whisky at 64.2% is just amazing and today that is how my palate is screaming at me to drink it.

Wow Stuart what an amazing cask of Glenrothes. I never thought I would have something from this distillery that would be so huge. I love my job.

Well sherry faithful did that tide you over for a bit? If you like this whisky lucky for you there are a few and only a few bottles coming to Canada. Please email me at jonathan@secretspirits.com if you want to find out where you can get it.

Whiskylassie is delving deep into this one and has posted her thoughts here.

In the second edition we had on day 8 the Wemyss Malts Dark Treacle Fondant Craigellachie and you can revisit it here.

Tomorrow after we all recover our sense of taste we will be heading back to the Highlands and the first offering from an independent bottler that made their lone debut in the 2nd edition. Single Cask Nation bring something unique and intriguing to the table.

See you then


Jonathan – Taster of Secrets

40 Year Old ‘Spring Water’ Lands on my Doorstep | Blog #26

One of the absolutely fabulous things about being in this line of work is getting little parcels on the front doorstep and occasionally finding a very rare package in the mail that ran the Canada Post gauntlet and survived.

A few weeks ago I was lucky enough to receive one such parcel with a wee bottle of something extremely special inside.

Before we get onto the whisky a little background is in order.

What do you do when you have successfully taken a distillery that was closed for over two decades and rebuilt it, made it profitable then sold it off all within the space of 5 years? The answer is take a well deserved break and plan your next whisky empire. Stuart Nickerson was the man at the helm of the Glenglassaugh revival and is now starting several new ventures that whisky lovers should well pay attention to.

The first venture and the company behind the wee bottle of whisky that will be reviewed shortly is the Malt Whisky Company. A new independent bottler, The Malt Whisky Company will be releasing a very limited number of single casks each year.

Launching this Christmas their first cask is naturally Glenglassaugh which is near and dear to Stuart’s heart. At 40 years of age and hanging on at the cask strength volume of 41.5% this cask was specifically chosen by Stuart to showcase his new company.

Glenglassaugh 40 year old Highland Single Malt – Cask Number 37606 – 298 Bottles. Distilled in December 1973 and bottled last month. This whisky was originally aged in a refill sherry hogshead until 3 years ago when it was re-racked into a first fill sherry.

Tasted in a Willow Park Reidel Whisky Glass.

Nose:     Ttttttttttttropical Fruit basket…. hmm let me see what’s in there, guava, passionfruit, papaya and just a hint of coconut. This is a very inviting nose and I have to say that given this is a 40 year old Glenglassaugh personally chosen by Stuart my expectations are pretty high.

Taste:     Soft enveloping palate with floral notes like a Hawaiian Lei with a rich vein of candied papaya, this evolves into a sweet and spicy vanilla cinnamon creaminess. The finish lingers on and continues some delicate twists and turns leaving a lovely afterglow. This is one nice whisky and the 41.5% does not need even the tiniest drop of water. So balanced, this is an awesome dram.

I have in the past talked about older whiskies and the fact that they are invariably always expensive but not always worth it.

What I look for in an older whisky is some of that youthful fruit balanced with the complexity that only age and great barrels can bring.

This definitely has it all in spades. A ton of fruit for such an old whisky and the softness and balance is exquisite.

Good work Stuart this is a great start to The Malt Whisky Company library.

So leading on from this is another interesting twist in the History of whisky in Scotland. Stuart is heading up the opening of a new distillery. The Shetland Distillery Company is the Northernmost Distillery in Scotland in the remote town of Haroldswick on the northern tip of Unst. Initially releasing Shetland Reel Gin Stuart estimates Whisky production to begin sometime within the next 12 months when the Whisky still arrives.

Given the cold and storm lashed coast in this part of the world, the whisky be will tortured by the elements before finding its way to Canadian retail shelves.

I look forward to visiting the Shetland Islands at some point and hanging out at the one available bar on Unst for a celebratory pint with Stuart.

Well done mate!