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Glenrothes Select Reserve

Average score from 18 reviews and 64 ratings 75

Glenrothes Select Reserve

Product details

  • Brand: Glenrothes
  • Bottler: Distillery Bottling
  • ABV: 43.0%

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Glenrothes Select Reserve

I received this as a gift and can't say I would have tried it otherwise, particularly based on what information I have been able to find on-line. In my short spirits-drinking life (3 years), I have gravitated mostly towards smoky, peaty stuff.

Anyway, this is very clearly not that, and yet I find myself somewhat sympathetic to it anyway, maybe because it's so unusual to my experience.

On the note it's sweet and fruity, but seems lighter and less intense than the sherry of a Macallan 12 or HP 18, almost more perfumey. I don't know why but I really like the nose on this. It's actually what I mentally pictured cognac would smell like.

In the mouth, quite smooth with some modest burn, very drinkable. Sweet and a bit of spice. Easy-going, but I wouldn't punish it too much for that; I know what I'm going to reach for when I want some punch, and this isn't it. Although I prefer nosing this one, the taste is ultimately appropriate for what you expect.

So for me, a pleasant surprise. Like I said, I don't have anything else quite like it.

@Narcism

The scent was that of apples, sweetness, candy and vanila. Easy to approach.

The taste changed to that of a light smoke, caramel and slight iodine.

The finish had a light wooden taste, something that reminded me of sitting on a backyard patio in the spring or fall.

I didn't fall in love with its complexity, but it was still a satisfying drink, nonetheless.

@UisgeJon

Nose: Sweet, a warm and floral nose. I get rose, honeysuckle, some raisins... pretty lovely. A hint of nuttiness there as well.

Palate: Oh, this is kinda different. I like it! It always excites me when I'm able to find a new profile that I haven't encountered yet. I appreciate what this has to offer. Although nothing amazing, I like that it's something new to me. Some hay, some citrus, raisins, followed by some more floral notes. A couple drops of water brought forward some more spices, like nutmeg. Not bad at all.

Finish: Ah, disapointing... this dram had a lovely little crescendo in the middle going for it, and I was hoping it would continue to grow to the finish. But, alas, that's not the case. It drops off, dissapears pretty quick. What you do get is some nuts, vanilla, and citrus, but it makes a run for the hills pretty quickly.

Definitely decent. A bit soft, but worth drinking.

You just threw three differnt Glenrothes at me... so which is it? The 1992, 1985 or 1998? Haha.

I think the 1992 cask strength would be to your liking

@PMessinger

After trying to give this Speysider an honest going over, I find that there are no good qualities about this one. The best use is for cleaning paint brushes.

I couldn't agree more.

A friend gave me a bottle of the Glenrothes Vintage 1985 which remains my all-time favourite Speyside. So I thought I'd treat myself to a bottle of the Special Reserve to see if I could rekindle those memories without breaking the bank. What a disappointment. It smelled of white spirit and the taste reminded me of the dodgy "Scotch" we bought for 11p a bottle in 1990 Czechoslovakia.

I actually took it back (to Sainsbury's) and complained. The liquor manager was obliged to agree with me and I took home some Laphroaig instead.

Avoid.

@SquidgyAsh

A few weeks ago I bought a gift pack of Glenrothes sample bottles from a local bottle shop. I'd wandered into this bottle shop because I'd never gone into it before and I was checking to see if they sold any of the beers I import into the country.

I love to wander into different bottle shops, trying to find those rare or valuable whiskies that the majority of the whisky drinking public don't realize for the gems that they are.

You can get some really good deals because oftentimes unless the bottle shop owner is a whisky drinker themselves, they don't realize what they have on their shelves and so you can oftentimes make a deal for a great whisky at a stupid price.

In the corner of the shop I'd seen a box that I'd never seen before and it just sort of called to me.

When I asked the clerk to see it he handed me this box of glencairn shotglasses and three 100ml bottles of different Glenrothes.

A 1995 vintage, a 1998 vintage and a Select Reserve.

All this for $50AUS.

I'd already had the Select Reserve from 2006 which had won a gold metal at the San Francisco Spirit Awards.

Very enjoyable whisky so I decided to give it a shot and pick up the gift set.

The first bottle I crack open is the 1995 vintage which was EXTREMELY disappointing earning a lowly 70 out of 100 from me.

Time for the Select Reserve though.

The nose is much more balanced and quite enjoyable.

First aroma that hits my nose as I crack the bottle is overwhelming citrus, but then it dies down and vanilla with cinnamon and fruit, specifically pear.

This is the Speyside nose that my wife and I love!

First taste is fruity, pears and apples, bits of citrus, vanilla that slowly gets stronger, oak, nutmeg and cinnamon.

Yummy!

The finish is quite short with apples and vanilla that slowly gets more and more dominating (God that's nice!)

Extremely delicious whisky!

Even better is that this whisky isn't too hard to find and is extremely affordable. Running at around $75 AUS at most major liquor stores, it's a steal!

Only problem is that I don't know which release this is, but I'm going to assume this is the most recent batch, but once again that's just a guess.

If you see Glenrothes Select Reserve you should just buy it.

If you're not a huge fan of easy drinking sweet whiskies I'm sure your wife or girlfriend will likely enjoy this and then you can convert them to the whiskyside!

@McGrain

I love this, absolutely love it, and at this price? Going on my list with Ardbeg 10 as just something that everyone should have. Delicious, and if you close your eyes and think of heaven you could actually convince yourself that it was nutritious. If whisky were good for you, this is how it would taste.

Nose: What Ardbeg is to peat, this is to vanilla, the whisky is smothered in it as you breath it in. A hint of oak, lashings of overripe fruit and a spice, cut with apples, that revisits during the finish. Sweet; soft.

Mouth: Sublimely balanced; very polite. Fruit again but dried, then some blackcurrant. Creme Brule, then a short rest.

After: More exceptional balance. Creamy and mouth-coating before it devolves again into spice (no apples this time - the only real hint of criticism i have for this whisky). A lingering kiss goodbye is maybe a little underwhelming given the cohesion that's gone before but it adds to the overall sense of politeness. This is like your first CD player after being abused by years of cassettes (apologies to younger readers).

Rated and recommended. I'm making fast work of this bottle. There's another one in Tesco with my name on it.

@chico

very sweet!

OK I agree not the best Scotch, kind of bitter and too much toffee, but a 2?????????????????!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! As The late and GREAT MICHAEL JACKSON thought and stated there are no bad single malts, just good and better ones! C'mon really a 2!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Perhaps you should drinks vodka and some mix!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Oh by the way I had some fine single malts b4 posting pardon my typing!

@SquidgyAsh

A while back I was randomly visiting the local liquor stores, specifically ones I had yet to visit due to their seedy appearance, when I walked into the local Thirsty Camel Drive Through Bottle Shop.

Yes I did walk into the drive through.

So I walk into this drive through bottle shop, with my wife looking quite exasperated and amused with me. I take a quick look around and am disappointed. Just the standard fare, Ardbeg, Jack Daniels, Jim Beam,the usual with the usual inflated prices when the shopkeep comes out and asks if I need anything.

I glance around the shelf and comment that I'm just looking around for whisky. When I say this he looks at me and asks if I'm a whisky man?

My wife at this point snorts before I can say anything and I grin and inform him "But of course I am!"

The shopkeep informs me that his name is Ash and that he's a whisky man and we start talking shop.

And wonders of wonders he actually is. He's not a poser who says he only likes single malts and hates bourbon and when you ask him if he prefers a Speyside whisky or an Islay whisky looks at you with blank, vacant, glassy eyes. This man actually knows his whisky.

I love this! So we keep talking about preferences, good whiskies we've had, what's worth what, how overpriced the store is and my eyes alight on the top shelf.

On it are several bottles, covered in dust, in little cardboard boxes. I can faintly see some handwritten notes.

At this point I ask him if he wouldn't mind grabbing one of each bottle down for me to check out.

"Not at all"

Down come three cobwebbed and dusty bottles.

Three Glenrothes. A 1985 Vintage, a 1991 Vintage and a Select Reserve, from 2006.

I grin as he replies to my question if people ever come in for whisky.

His answer is that yes they do and his reply to my question as to what whiskies he recommends them is a laugh.

"I tell them that the good stuff is always on the top shelf, problem is that their eyes always end two shelves below the one yours ended at." He laughs.

I eye these whiskies with envy and lust. I want them, but I've already spent my months whisky quota and my wife has been very patient with me so far, mainly laughing at the 15 minute conversation and the look of awe on his face when he finds out that I converted her to a whisky drinker.

"Thank you very much for bringing these bottles down for me" I tell him. Then I tell him I'm sorry I can't purchase any today.

He laughs and says not to worry, but to remember his name and the next time I'm in he'll give me a discount.

Brilliant!!

My first serious contact in the whisky industry over here! A low level one, but hey we all started somewhere!

So I go home and weeks pass, bottles come into my house that were higher on my priority list, but always in the back of my mind are those three lovely little Glenrothes.

In the meantime a problem that had slowly been rearing its head finally took center stage in my wife's and my whisky life, oxidation.

Almost everyone of our Speyside whiskies was being adversely affected by this bane of my existence and many of my lovely whiskies were becoming quickly unlovely.

My wife and I then decided that no new whiskies would be opened until opened bottles were finished and we had the oxidation under control.

Now this would normally be very difficult for me to live with, but thankfully god and the kind people at the distilleries invented samples!

So I spent almost two weeks trying Auchentoshan's and basic entry whiskies and then a lovely 30 year old Secret Cask from Abbey Whisky.

But alas I soon ran out of new whiskies to try. I would occasionally drink from some of my open bottles which I love to do anyway, but it felt like the sense of exploration was over for the foreseeable future.

Oh well to hell with not BUYING any new whiskies!

Quickly a Four Roses Single Barrel and Stranahan Colorado whisky made it into my cabinet. Then a 30 year old Port Ellen.

And still no open bottles.

So then comes the epic day that Glenrothes makes its first appearance into my cabinet.

I'm sitting on the internet as I'm often found doing and I'm going through the main bottle shop in my area, Dan Murphy's.

As I scan through the site I think back to the Thirsty Camel and Glenrothes and decide to see what Dan Murphy's has in the way of it.

Holy crap they've got a Select Reserve going for around $70 bucks that scored a gold in the San Fransisco competition.

So I head on down to Dan Murphy's and conveniently enough, Thirsty Camel.

My plan is to swing by the Thirsty Camel and see what, if any Glenrothes they have left, then swing by Dan Murphy's and purchase accordingly.

If they both have them, I'll snag Dan Murphy's 2012 over Thirsty Camel's 2006 since I know Dan Murphy's has a large turnover on some of their whiskies.

I once again walk into the Thirsty Camel and all three bottles are still there. Still dusty as ever.

Huzzah!

I then head over to Dan Murphy's to see their 2012 Select Reserve. I get into the store and head straight to the whisky section, which is sadly way too small.

In it I see a Glenrothes Select Reserve, but not the award winner. I wander up and down the aisles hunting for this elusive 2012. But to no avail.

Finally a lowly clerk notices the perplexed look on my face and deems to help.

I inform him of what I'm hunting for, and he looks at me and he goes,

"There's the Select Reserve right there"

"Yes, but that's not the award winner"

"Oh"

Huzzah for customer service in Perth!

I finally convince him to look it up on the computer where he comes back with..."Can't find it"

Oh well back to the Thirsty Camel I go!

I head in, ask to see the bottles, and decide!

Today the Select Reserve shall be mine!

As the clerk (who sadly wasn't Ash, no discount for me) rings up my purchase I ask him how long the bottles have been there, the clerk is an older gentleman with a gruff and surly manner and looks at me to inform me,

"Ever since I bought the place. No one's ever bought one of those bottles"

WOW. Just Wow.

I head home, happy with my purchase, eager to show my wife, like a child with a new toy.

But I can't open the bottle. Oxidation.

Damn!

Then my wife a few days later finds this little 240ml jar. It seems to have a tight seal. I might, just might, be able to use this to decant my whiskies into. My wife has sadly got this little jar for spices and some other household things.

I convince her that for the good of the cause I need this bottle, it's to save the whiskies!

She finally acquiesces.

The next night I crack open the bottle of Glenrothes. I'd originally told my wife that I was opening the Four Roses, but had changed my mind on reflecting that the bourbons didn't seem to be suffering any negative effects from oxidation, it was just the Speysides.

So I crack open the bottle and pour us a nice dram, then immediately decant as much of the remaining whisky into the little jar. Here goes nothing!

We sit down for dinner and the smells coming off the glencairn are AWESOME!

The bottle said ripe fruits, but they didn't say it all! Pears, apples, grapes, sultanas, vanilla, honey, cinnamon, and some oak.

This smells delicious!!!

I, patiently, wait for my wife to finish her dinner so that we can taste. This takes longer then normal because my wife is...

I actually don't know why it took so long for her to be ready to take a sip of the whisky. It normally takes 40 minutes or so for her to be ready. Tonight it was over an hour.

By the way, that hour was an eternity.

I'm totally serious.

But finally, she's ready!

Huzzah!

So I hand her the glencairn and she briefly smells it and then takes a sip.

Bam! She's gasping for breath and once she can talk informs me that she knows it's over 40% ABV.

I inform her that it's sitting at around 43% ABV and now I'm starting to get worried. Does the alcohol flavor kill this whisky?

I cautiously take a sip and I love it!

The apples and pears shine through along with the vanilla and cinnamon. There's definitely oak in there and there is an alcohol flavor in it, but it's not over powering. It actually compliments the whisky quite nicely.

The finish is short to medium length with the pears and apples coming through the strongest, with just hints of the vanilla lurking underneath.

This is a very nice whisky and a steal for around $70 AUS. Enough so that soon I shall be going back for their second and last bottle of this. Sadly and luckily for me I haven't seen this year of the Select Reserve except for the Thirsty Camel near my house. I sadly get the feeling that once I buy all their Glenrothes they won't be purchasing anything that the other liquor stores don't already have.

However Glenrothes Select Reserve can be picked up at most Dan Murphy's for around the same price so it's not too hard a bottle to come by.

Now to save the whisky. I get to come back to the bottle in a month. I get to cross my fingers and see how the main bottle has oxidized then compare it to the portion that has been decanted. If the decanted portion is close to what I tasted tonight I know the seals on these bottles will be tight enough after which it's time to go pick up a heap more of these bottles and decant away!

I'll report back in a month so wish me luck!!

oh you're a long-winded one squidgy... but i liked the meat of your review once you got there.

here's a tip to help with the oxidation. buy yourself a kilo or two of good solid glass marbles. put them in a sieve and run them through the dishwasher. store in a sealed plastic container. use them to top any partial bottles up to the level of the cork. no oxygen. i've only found one bottle (and it was a speyside bottle!) whose neck was too narrow to accept the marbles. works wonders for wine, too.

cheers! jan.

You should add your follow up review in the comments!

@joshk

I acquired the Glenrothes Select Reserve from a tasting 3-pack that contained the Select Reserve, 1991/2008, and 1985/2005. I've had it a few times before from various bottles but my notes are based on the one from the 100ml tasting bottle.

Glenrothes uses its own approach in bottling their whisky mostly by vintage instead of by years aged. They also have NAS bottles which I guess they fill with non-vintage years, the entry level one being this Select Reserve .

Nose: Apple/apricot/pear fruit, vanilla, lemon citrus. Following hint of brown sugar. Some alcohol throughout.

Palate: More vanilla, orange citrus, butterscotch, peach. When my wife had a sip she thought there was a hint of coffee bean.

Finish: Light, sweet, smooth. Bit of maltiness. Young but light burn.

This is a great everyday malt. It's light and pretty smooth for what is reportedly a pretty young single malt. Of the 3 in the sampler set it was close as to which I liked better between this is and 1985. The 1985 had a lot of sherry and was a lot smoother but the flavors seem to be fighting themselves a bit.

Yes, this is an entry level malt, but I adore the 1991 and others from this distillery. I have several unopened vintages set back for special occasions. The 85 is one of them. I would love to get a sMpler pack as you did.

@Rosal

Nose: Rich fruit impression. Hints of Vanilla.

Taste: Sweet then spicy. Relaxing taste of oranges.

Finish: The Spice takes hold and lasts. Nice warm feeling

@markjedi1

After dealing with the flu for a week (in which no tastings could take place, obviously), I've finally gotten round to trying two Glenrothes. My first encounter with this Speysider was an independent bottle from Wemyss, called Toffee Apples. I enjoyed that one very much. Today, I'm trying the Select Reserve first, a no age statement Glenrothes.

The nose is light and somewhat spirity, with raisins, rum and a hint of soot. Also some nail polish remover. Doesn't sound good, but it smells good, believe me. Caramelized fruit and some spicy (cinnamon?). Give it a few minutes and you'll get that nice round caramel Quality Street candy.

The attack is very soft and fresh, but watery. A lot of alcohol, which then moves over to allow some vanilla and barley. A bit of citrusy notes as well, but the whole remains somewhat flat.

The finish is short and dry, on nuts and grain cookies.

That the bottle is excquisitely shaped is one of the few good things you can say about this whisky. It's a bit of a lightweight, basically. An aperitif.

Interesting review Mark, I've been looking at this on the shelves of the local liquor store and was very attracted by the shape too! :) but I will go for something else, I'm looking for a good, stereotypical speysider!

While I agree with Mark, don't let it influence you on the rest of the Glenrothes range. Most of them surely have good, stereotypical Speyside qualities!

@jwise

This is a classic malt in my book. The Glenrothes distillery is a favorite of mine, and this whisky is the "classic" profile that the distillery produces. It is the essence of what makes a Glenrothes, so it in turn is the essence of what is a Speyside (in MY opinion!)

Nose: Complex, with a hint of salty notes combined with heather, malt, flora and citrus, as well as a bit of vanilla. Almost sherry notes, but not quite. Just a bit of vanilla to balance the malt. I'm getting just a bit of fruit, maybe unripe apples. Not quite sweet, but maybe dried fruit. Coming back after a taste, the nose is much more alive with berry fruits, and sweet vanilla.

Body: This is a light whisky, not heavy in the mouth. It is smooth, but not VERY smooth.

Palate: The tongue is awash with spicy notes, warming the tongue with complexity. The individual notes of citrus and vanilla are gone, but the mixture is intriguing. There is just the hint of smoke, filling the mouth with a complex layer of goodness. Clean and fresh are not quite the words I would use to describe this whisky. It has a complexity to it that is inviting, calling me to taste it over and over, promising me I will be able to detect the exact flavor on the next sip.

Finish: The finish is long, sending off spice into the back of the throat. The smoke comes out more in the finish, releasing a darker profile than that which hit the tongue. This bit of smoke warms the mouth, but nothing like an Islay or even Highland Park. It is but a whiff of smoke, just enough to darken the flavor, keeping it from being confused with a "light and refreshing" whisky.

At its price-point ($39), it is an exceptional whisky. The Balvenie 12yr Signature might be a decent comparison. The Macallan 12yr would not be as complex as either the Select Reserve or the Signature. However, both the Macallan and Balvenie are more expensive than the Glenrothes. As stated, the Glenrothes is an exceptional whisky at its price-point.

It does not have an age statement, but I've heard it ranges from 8-12yrs. I would compare it against Balvenie 15yr Single Barrel, except with more smokiness and less pepper.

@jwise - What is the age of the Glenrothes Select Reserve? It sounds like, from your review, this is a very complex whisky.

@WTC

This classic Speyside distillery is one of Scotland's biggest but only a small proportion is bottled as a single malt. Releases bear a date rather than an age statement and the distillery produces two distinctive styles of whisky – from rich, sherry to light, grapefruit summer delights. This is a greatest hits package, combining both styles. This is in our festive tasting.

Nose: Sweet barley, vanilla, mince pies, sherbet and orange. Palate: Dried fruits, spice, sugar and sherry. Finish: Gentle fruit, particularly prunes and raisins.

@jdcook

This was a surprise birthday gift which I've had to leave alone because of a bad flu. I've been quietly thinking about getting myself a bottle for a little while, so I was quietly chuffed when it suddenly appeared before me in a most unexpected manner.

I have to admit I do like the clever cardboard packaging and the cute little tubby bottle is very distinctive on the shelf amongst my other bottles - it really draws the eye.

For a speyside dram, it's quite powerful on the nose. Toffee sweetness, tropical fruits, vanilla, citrus with a warm hint of buttery goodness holding it all together. Sitting with the glass in my lap I'm getting constant hits - really quite pleasant.

The taste starts gently, toffee sweetness, complemented by some cracked pepper and a hint of mint. After a few moments an adroit wave of citrus and forest fruits with a warming spicy note rolls over the top leaving my mouth slightly dry, and my tongue tingling.

The finish is warm and spicy, but fades through ripe fruits and citrus finishing with a lingering note of toffee.

I'd heard mixed things about this, and I get the impression that there is a bit of variation between bottles, but I was genuinely impressed with this one. It's not in the pantheon of the greats, but is more than decent. Easy to drink, and nice to savour. Sweet and light, but not simple. A perfect Summer every day dram!

Tossing up between an 8 and an 8.5 for this one, but after finishing the glass, i found myself genuinely wanting another. It surprised me how much I liked it, so 8.5 it is.

Thanks Dave, I really appreciated this one!

Yeah, I was surprised at how much I wanted a second one. Very pleasant. And your comment on a previous review of the select reserve was correct - this one is the one where they are trying to be a little more consistent. If they can keep it up to this standard, they will have done very well!

I've got the 1991 distillation, which I didn't care for 6 months ago. But lately I've been enjoying a newly discovered viscous brown sugar nose and palate with just a pleasant hint of peat, and a good finish. I like this more as I get to know it ... as evidenced by the bottle now being only half full.

@MFish85

Vanilla on both the nose and the palate. There is some spice in the body but it's also very smooth.

I've heard mixed things, but I guess that's what you get when you buy a whisky that is done in yearly batches, if each batch is different, then naturally people are going to prefer some batches over others.

@jdcook worth pointing out that the select reserve has no age statement or year declaration. They do release some yearly whiskies but this I don't think this is one of them. I reckon they carefully marry it to create consistency. I'd heard people describe this as sweet and there is certainly a sweetness but for me the peppery, spicy notes really balance that out. I think its actually a really nice summer dram. It far exceeded my expectations.

@TheCasks

The Nose: First whiff...tequila. Hola. Muchos Gracias but no, tequila is not the nose I want with my Scotch. Floral and light, there was vanilla and sweet citrus, tangerine maybe, with a hint of fennel and wood spice.

The Palate: Lighter mouthfeel. Vanilla notes mixed with spicey, youngish tones. There was something mildly salty about the taste as well. Refreshing and crisp.

The Finish: Medium-ish. The spicy quality hangs around a bit.

Thoughts: I found the tequila nose thing kind of a turnoff, but then again, I'm not the biggest tequila fan. Nothing really jumped out here, otherwise. It was a little plain-jane. Very accesible and refreshing...just...not...yeah. It was ok, not what I would think of as a traditional Speyside malt.

I've heard very mixed things about different bottlings of the Glenrothes. Apparently some of them are awesome, many are quite good, but a couple are fairly average. I've stayed away myself because I can't be bothered to figure out which ones are the one to try, and which should be avoided.

@finski145

Hot off the press :-) My wife (a whiskey lover too) just got a bottle of this as Xmas present from the office. So, we had to taste this right away.

Everything about this whiskey is very light. The nose is very light in sea air, fruits and vanilla. Body in the mouth feels also light, bit thin and a bit alcohol in the beginning. The vanilla sweetness remains short time in the back of tongue. I can see here where the first review says that it is like the vanilla coke of whiskeys :-)

Nothing really excels in this whiskey, it is just overall OK light sipping whiskey as the title says.

I'm lucky too that mother-in-law likes this stuff, and her favorite area is Speyside anyways. So, she gave a higher rating on this one than us two (60/60/90, average 70)

@thekman

I didn't real enjoy this whiskey and I am quite glad I bought a mini bottle.

The nose was pleasent and fragrant. The body was soft and silky. I just didn't really like the flavour. It was very sweet and tasted strongly of vanilla and fruit. I found that it kinda masked the flavor of the malt.

It was worth a try, but I probably wouldn't buy the bottle.

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