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For my first review of 2016, I thought it might be interesting to spend a little time exploring the benefits of adding water to your whisky, if indeed there are any.
It seems that adding a few drops of water to a dram can sometimes have a beneficial effect as the whisky interacts with the water droplets and ‘opens up’, revealing new flavours and complexities. In truth, it would be more accurate to say that water changes, rather than improves a dram. On some occasions, these changes are for the better and on others, it would have been best to leave well alone. Nonetheless, it can be fun to play around, adding a few drops of water at a time and looking for any changes. Perhaps even pour two glasses of the same whisky, add water to one and let them sit for a few minutes, then see if there’s a drastic difference and if so, which is best.
Glenrothes Distillery is situated in the town of Rothes in Speyside (not the Fife town of Glenrothes as I assumed when I first got into whisky). It dates from 1879 and has become a key ingredient in some leading blends over the years. Current owners, Berry Bros & Rudd are London’s oldest wine merchant and can trace their relationship with the malt back to 1923 when it was first used in the recipe for their Cutty Sark blended Scotch. In 2010 however, Berry Bros sold the Cutty Sark brand to Edrington and gained Glenrothes in the same deal. In a bold move, they removed all age statements from the label, choosing instead to focus on vintage releases.
The ‘Select Reserve’ however, according to the official website, is ‘a non-vintage-specific selection…’ which sounds very much like someone who doesn’t want to say “no age statement”. It is reasonably priced however and comes bottled at 43% abv.
Smell: Honey and vibrant Fruit notes, Tropical even – there’s Banana and Pineapple as well as a touch of Butterscotch in there.
Taste: Honey and Vanilla with a good hit of Spice. Then fruit again with Pineapple and Lemon.
Value: Around £35 though often found discounted in supermarket chains. If I’m completely honest, it is not a malt that I have fallen head over heels for though it is drinkable enough when a little water reins in its apparent youthfulness.
Total: 74 / 100
Without a doubt, there are better whiskies in a similar price bracket but there’s enough here to suggest that older expressions from this distillery could be worth exploring.