Review: Glenrothes Alba Reserve single malt scotch whisky

Glenrothes Distillery – Berry Bros & Rudd

40% ABV

£39.95 for 70cl from Master of Malt

Score: 75/100

alba-reserve-bottle

What they say:

The Glenrothes normal wood policy uses a combination of Spanish and American oak, seasoned with sherry, bourbon and malt Scotch. Not so the Alba Reserve.

For this expression John Ramsay has used Glenrothes matured exclusively in American oak refill bourbon casks. It therefore delivers coconut and vanilla in abundance, and is soft and mellow with a crème brulée flavour and feel.

Quercus Alba is the Latin name for White (or American) oak; and Alba is the Gaelic word for Scotland.

Appearance:

Pale straw, clear and bright

Bouquet:

Fresh, floral, coconut, American oak vanilla

Palate:

Soft mellow, creme brulee and berry fruits

Finish:

Smooth, sweet, medium length

alba-reserve-label

What I say:

Sample B1B from the recent NAS vs age statement blind-tasting see The Great Age Statement Debate and Photo Finish Between Age Statement And NAS Whisky In Big Blind Tasting.

This NAS Glenrothes expression was compared directly with Glenrothes 1998 Vintage ~ 43% (Maxxium UK Ltd.) which we have previously sampled and scored 84/100 though in the blind tasting this dropped to 82/100.

Colour:

Eiswein and antique gold (8/20) medium trails and numerous small droplet tears

Nose:

New make, light acetone (nail polish remover), softer vanilla and fairy cake mixture, sponge cake, vanilla and sickly sweet / eggy? a neutral-sweet honey e.g. oilseed rape honey

Taste:

Thin/watery in mouthfeel, vanilla sponge cake batter, cereal barley flour, a little sour and acrid, mouthwash in feel, vanilla egg custard and banana milkshake

Finish:

Short and mid-sweet, vanilla

Overall:

I found this expression unimpressive, Paula liked the nose of this one much more than the 1998 vintage as it was simple, sweet and vanilla, I found it definitely improved after breathing with some of the spirit/new make elements fading, but I much preferred the 1998 vintage with its more complex and full-bodied palate.