2004 marks the first vintage release from The Glenrothes since 2001, which continues the every-three-years tradition that dates back to at least 1992. The distillery puts it best, perhaps: “During the same year that Facebook launched, the long-running sitcom F.R.I.E.N.D.S came to a close and Martha Stewart turned in her apron for an orange jumpsuit, The Glenrothes Vintage 2004 was laid down in a selection of extraordinary American oak sherry seasoned casks.”
It’s a heavily sherried expression of Glenrothes, initially searing on the nose with its intense spice notes — heavy on the cloves, with orange oil, dark-roasted barley, and some leathery barrel char all in attendance. The palate is more forgiving, offering notes of butterscotch and vanilla, but tempered with mushroom and a lot more of that char. These earthier notes evolve into a distinctive forest floor character, surprisingly youthful and edgy, and giving the whisky a pungent, slightly green conclusion.
It’s not my favorite Glenrothes Vintage release, but it’s at least approachable as a (luxe) everyday dram.