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The Glenrothes Peated Cask Reserve

Review: The Glenrothes Peated Cask Reserve    (83.5/100)
a review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Published February 22, 2017

Berry Bros. & Rudd is one of London’s oldest Wine and Spirits Merchant with over 300 years of experience and tradition from which to draw upon. The company began its operation at 3 – St. James’s Street (in London, UK) in 1698, and still operates from that same location today. Although they are primarily merchants of wine, the company has a strong presence in the sale of distilled spirits as well.

Their presence within the spirits industry had its beginnings approximately 100 years ago when Berry Bros. & Rudd developed the Cutty Sark brand in 1923. In 2010 Cutty Sark (the brand) was sold to The Edrington Group. As part of the arrangement Berry Bros. & Rudd acquired The Glenrothes Single Malt Whisky brand.

The Glenrothes Peated Cask Reserve is produced from 1992 Vintage stocks which were given an added maturation time in selected casks which were acquired from Islay. The intent od this second maturation was to add a hint of peat smoke to the Glenrothes Whisky flavour profile. This bottling represents the first such whisky produced by the distillery.

The Glentothes Peated Cask Reserve whisky is bottled at 40 % alcohol by volume.

glentothes-peated-cask-reserve-sam_2903In the Bottle 4/5

The Glenrothes Peated Cask Reserve arrives in a squat round clear bottle.  The bottle is protected to some extent by a light brown cardboard sleeve container which is windowed on the front and the back so that you can see the front and back labels of your bottle. The sides of the cardboard box contains information first about Berry Bros. & Rudd (on the right hand side), and then also about The Glenrothes Speyside Single Malt Whisky (on the left side).

I appreciate that the front label of the bottle provides tasting notes to help guide our purchase decision, although I wish there was some information regarding the Vintage used for this bottling.

In the Glass 8/10

The whisky displays itself with a nice golden amber colour, and when I tilt my glass (and give it a twirl) I see medium small leglets form at the crest which drop slender legs back to the whisky below. The Glenrothes website indicates that only a light kiss of peat from the Islay casks is evident, and that is exactly my impression when I inspect the breezes above my glencairn. Beside this light kiss of peat are notes of mild butterscotch, and some fine oak spices.

When I give the glass time to breathe, the peat gains just a little momentum, I sense some herbal smells of sawgrass, willow tree and menthol with perhaps a very light imprint of leather and orange peel. (I am struggling with the score as I want the whisky to show me more. However, the light nuances of the Speyside spirit are somewhat obscured by the light peat.)

In the Mouth 51/60

The whisky shows me much more across the palate than it did in the breezes. I taste a firm but mild herbal peat complemented by orange peel and oak spice. The flavour is sweetened just a little with a light winding of butterscotch. There is some menthol and herbal grassiness, and when I chew the whisky, an intense oak spiciness manifests itself with an increased build-up of malty sweetness. Leather, and a touch of burlap, lie underneath, and I am finding the whisky nice for sipping although I think perhaps a more robust flavour profile would interest me more.

I added a little ice to my glass; but that was a mistake as the cold ice brought forward some of the bitter flavours from the oak, and somewhat ashy flavours from the peat.

In the Throat 12.5/15

The whisky exits with a mild rush of peppery spice and some phenolic peat smoke. An ebbing malt sweetness and hints of herbal menthol provide cooling relief. At the end of the taste experience a touch of brine and dark licorice kisses the tonsils.

The Afterburn 8/10

The Glenrothes Peated Cask Reserve is the distillery’s first attempt at adding a touch of the briny Islay experience into their whisky profile. I am mixed about the results. I kept thinking as I was tasting the dram, that I wanted to get a closer look at the underlying whisky which to me seemed like it was quite good. Rather than complementing this good whisky, it seems to me that the light touch of peat from the Islay barrel disguised its nuances and prevented me from enjoying it as much as I should have. Having said that, I think this Single Malt serves as a nice gateway to the experience of peated whisky.

You may read some of my other Whisky Reviews (click the link) if you wish to have some comparative reviews.


Suggested Serving

black-cove-sam_3014The Black Cove

1 1/2 oz  The Glenrothes Peated Cask Reserve
1 oz Amaretto
Dash of Angostura bitters
Ginger Ale
Lemon Slice

Place 2 or 3 large ice-cubes into a suitable glass
Pour the Peated Glenrothes Whisky and the Amaretto over the ice
Add a dash or two of bitters
Lengthen with Ginger ale
Garnish with a Lemon slice

Please enjoy my cocktails  responsibly, the aim of my blog is to help your drink better spirits not to help you drink more spirits.

Note: If  you are interested in more of my original cocktail recipes, please click this link (Cocktails and Recipes) for more of my mixed drink recipes!


As always you may interpret the scores I provide as follows.

0-25     A spirit with a rating this low would actually kill you.
26-49   Depending upon your fortitude you might actually survive this.
50 -59  You are safe to drink this…but you shouldn’t.
60-69   Substandard swill which you may offer to people you do not want to see again.
70-74   Now we have a fair mixing rum or whisky.  Accept this but make sure it is mixed into a cocktail.
75-79   You may begin to serve this to friends, again probably still cocktail territory.
80-84   We begin to enjoy this spirit neat or on the rocks. (I will still primarily mix cocktails)
85-89   Excellent for sipping or for mixing!
90-94   Definitely a primary sipping spirit, in fact you may want to hoard this for yourself.
95-97.5 The Cream of the Crop
98+        I haven’t met this bottle yet…but I want to.

Very loosely we may put my scores into terms that you may be more familiar with on a Gold, Silver, and  Bronze medal  scale as follows:

70 – 79.5    Bronze Medal (Recommended only as a mixer)
80 – 89.5     Silver Medal (Recommended for sipping and or a high quality mixer)
90 – 95         Gold Medal (Highly recommended for sipping and for sublime cocktails.)
95.5+            Platinum Award (Highest Recommendation)


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