GSN Review: 2001 The Glenrothes, Speyside, Single Malt Scotch Whisky

Glenrothes 2001 vintageEveryone loves a good ghost story.  Not too many are associated with distilleries, but The Glenrothes has one.

During the Boer war, a Colonel Grant from Rothes discovered an orphaned boy hiding in some bushes.  Apparently, they hit it off, because Grant took the boy back to England with him after the war.  His name was Byeway Makalaga and he became quite well-known in the town of Rothes over the years.  He even joined the local football team.  Finally, in 1972 he passed away.  He was buried near the Glenrothes distillery in the town’s cemetery.

In 1979, two new stills were installed, and several workers reported seeing the ghost of Byeway on the grounds.  University professor Cedric Wilson was called in to investigate the rumours.  He decided that the new project had disturbed some leylines under the earth.  He suggested that the stills be relocated elsewhere in the factory.  Some time later, the professor visited the cemetery with several others from Rothes and looked out at the hundreds of tombstones.  He then directly walked 70 yards to a distant grave marker and appeared to be talking to himself.  Even though he had never before been in the cemetery, nor knew where Byeway was buried, he had eerily gone directly to his resting place.  When he returned to the crowd of onlookers, he simply told them that the spirit was at rest now.  And his ghost has never been seen since.

The Glenrothes 2001 (86 proof)
Visual: Medium gold.
Nose: A nice balance of sweet and smoke.
Taste: Fruity, with a back-burner of heathery smoke and wood.  There are almost two distinct layers here with a vanilla/cherry cobbler holding hands with a traditional Speyside whisky.  The belle of the ball.
Finish: Long and with more of those fruity, black cherry notes.  Memorable.
Overall: Well done, and a testament to the twelve years spent under the watchful eye of the master distiller.
GSN Rating: A

For more information go to: The Glenrothes

GSN Review: BenRiach Whisky

Benriach logo

The BenRiach Distillery is located in Moray, Scotland in the Speyside area.  Established in 1898, it was a brother to the Longmorn Distillery, both owned by John Duff.  Interestingly, a private steam locomotive named Puggy serviced both distilleries delivering the needed supplies of coal, barley, peat and oak barrels.  Over the years, the distillery has changed hands many times, including turns of ownership by Glenlivet, Seagrams, and Pernod Ricard until ten years ago, when they became a private entity.

They have won several awards including Distillery of the Year, Best Performing Small Business, Best International Business and a slew of gold and silver medals in spirits competitions.

The BenRiach Horizons 12 Year Old Triple Distilled (100 proof)
Visual: Medium gold.
Nose: Slight smoke with a lot of sweet caramel and fresh made doughnut
Taste: Wow.  This is luscious and very much in line with a high-proof single malt Irish whiskey.  There is a lot of flavor here.  Fruity elements combined with a maple texture combine in a cohesive whole that far exceeded my expectations.  Really, really nice.
Finish: Medium long with a lot of the sweeter aspects lingering to make you reach for a second pour.
Overall: This is art in a glass.
GSN Rating: A

The BenRiach Solstice 2nd Edition 17 Year Old (100 proof)
Visual: Medium light gold.
Nose: Heavy smoke with a goodly dose of rich malt.
Taste: Light and feathery, but with a total commitment to traditional Scotch smokiness.
Finish: The wood-char flavor goes on for quite a while, but it is also balanced with a playful honey-vanilla sweetness.
Overall: This is an excellent scotch for pairing with a fine cigar.
GSN Rating: B+

The BenRiach Septendecim 17 Year Old Peated Single Malt (92 proof)
Visual: Very pale gold.
Nose: Mostly smoke, but a hint of malt peeks through.
Taste: At first, I was thinking this was going to be rather sublime, but after a few seconds a powerhouse of intense deep, dark smoke comes through.  If I didn’t know better, I’d swear this was a cask strength whisky disguised in a more covert form.
Finish: Fairly long with a lot of the smokey notes hanging on and saying their tenuous goodbyes.
Overall: Deceptively smooth in body, yet masculine in flavor.
GSN Rating: B+

The BenRiach Authenticus 25 Year Old Peated Single Malt (92 proof)
Visual: Medium gold.
Nose: The smoke plays an equal role with the distillate.  Rich, enticing and seductive.
Taste: What has transpired flavor-wise is unlike anything I’ve had the pleasure of previously tasting.  Let’s say, hops.  Or if you’re not a beer drinker (although you should be) grapefruit.  Simply phenomenal and outstanding.
Finish: There is a variety and depth of flavors here that goes on and on.  Far too many to list.  Sweet, smokey, salty, tannic, grainy, malty, saline, spiced and fruity.  Yet throughout all of this, there is a total cohesiveness.
Overall: A killer whisky that defies tradition.
GSN Rating: A+

For more information go to: BenRiach