Glenrothes: A Tasting Through The Seventies



Two from 1972, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1978, Three from 1979 and John Ramsay (73-87)


1969 saw the zenith of man’s achievements in Apollo 11, Whisky and Woodstock.  Enter the seventies.  Whisky is booming and single malts are starting to become popular, but great rock stars like Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison and Jimi Hendrix are removed from the collective genius that is rock.  Whisky and Rock are still at the top but ,like a foreign species invasion, disco and rum are emerging in the void created by the passing of rock superstars and the break up of so many great rock bands.

An Irish political philosopher, Edmund Burke, said it best with this variant quote “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil rum is that good whisky makers do nothing”.  Fortunately distilleries like Glenrothes continued to produce fantastic whiskies throughout the seventies.  This foresight by Glenrothes to continue the production of great whiskies allowed rock music to once again flourish into the eighties and undo the devolution which was the stain of the late seventies caused by the intoxicated rum driven disco craze.

To honor Glenrothes for their contribution towards the demise of disco the ‘gang of four’, named after a failed attempt to take control of Diageo a few years ago, sat down to a tasting of ten seventies Glenrothes malts.  Eight of which were elegant and floral and two sherry bombs.  We found all the malts enjoyable and very similar (excluding the two sherry bombs), but only noted our top four.

1972 Restricted Release November 2, 1972 – March 26, 1996 43% ABV 

NOSE:  Tropical fruit, honey and spice.

TASTE:  Chewy, dark chocolate, hazel nuts.

FINISH:  Medium – long.

ASSESSMENT:  I need you, by me, beside me, because when you’re bad, you’re so so good.  Run away favorite and number one of the night.  Rumor mill – this was removed from Canada because of the levels of carcinogens in the malt. Observation -why is it that every time I like something it’s bad for me?!

1972 Limited Release December 5, 1972 – March 29, 2004 43% ABV Bottle # 05091

NOSE:  Eucalyptus, apples, herbal.

TASTE:  Pears, vanilla and dark chocolate.

FINISH:  Short to Medium.  Bit oily.

ASSESSMENT:  Now it’s all right, it’s ok, just not a good as the other 1972.

1973   March 16, 1973 – July 5, 2000 ABV 43%

NOSE:  Ripe oranges, pears and honey.

TASTE:  Raisins, toffee.  Bit oaky.

FINISH:  Medium.  Very dry.

ASSESSMENT:  Won’t you take me to funky town.  Not in the top four, but has some nice qualities.

30 Year Old Limited Release August 15, 1974 – November 8, 2004 50.2 ABV # 967 of 1134 Bottles

NOSE:  Oranges, cherries and honey.

TASTE:  Citrus, vanilla and almonds.  Malty.

FINISH:  Medium.  Uber elegant

ASSESSMENT:  Oh, that’s the way; uh-huh uh-huh I like it, uh-huh uh- huh.  It really is a wonderful malt and finished in the top four.



1975 Vintage Release August 1975 – April 25, 2006 43 % ABV Bottle # 1581 of 3708 Bottles

NOSE:  Toffee, cherries, honey.

TASTE:  Coffee bean, nutty.

FINISH:  Medium. Very soft.

ASSESSMENT:  Looking for some hot stuff baby this evening.  Just finished out of the top four.

1978 Vintage Release November 3, 1978 – July 1, 2008 43% ABV 

NOSE:  Floral, jammy, cherries and vanilla.

TASTE:  Spicy, apples and marzipan.

FINISH:  Medium.  Soft for the nose and very drinkable.

ASSESSMENT:  There’s a party going on right here.  Finished in the top four.  Could sip this malt all night long.

1979 General Release November 24, 1979 – February 13, 2002 43 % ABV 

NOSE:  Grapefruit, oranges and floral.

TASTE:  Apples, sweet, red liquorice.

FINISH:  Medium to long. Warming and bit dry.

ASSESSMENT:  I love to love you baby.  Used to be one of my favorites when it was released, but fails to make the top four in this range taste.

John Ramsay  Legacy  46.7% ABV   # 1228 of 1400 Bottles Bottled 2009 .Vatted from 2nd fill American oak sherry casks from 1973, 1978 , 1979 , 1982 , 1985 , 1986 , 1987

NOSE:  Floral, ripe sweet oranges, vanilla and a trace of mint.

TASTE:  Grapefruit, nuts, malty.

FINISH:  Medium to long.  Demure and understated.

ASSESSMENT:  If I can’t have you, I don’t want no other baby. This is good stuff, hats off to the mad vatter. Finished second behind the restricted release 1972

1979 Single Cask # 13458 1979 – June 7, 2000 57 % ABV Bottle # 35 of 519 Bottles

NOSE:  Oranges, raisins, mellow spice, cinnamon and little sulfur.

TASTE:  Chewy, cappuccino.  Sticky sweet port.

FINISH:  Long and intense.

ASSESSMENT:  First I was afraid, I was petrified, kept thinking of the sulfur that Jim Murray had testified.  This, in my not so humble opinion, is not a wrecked cask.  Has less sulphur than cask #13459.

1979 Single Cask # 13459 1979 – May 4, 2006 56.6 % ABV # 96 of 492 Bottles

NOSE:  Sharp spice, sulphur, raisins, dark chocolate and bananas.

TASTE:  Robust and chewy.  Liquorice, raspberry jam.

FINISH:  Long.  Warming and very intense.

ASSESSMENT:  Burn baby burn.  Satisfaction came in a chain reaction of chewy spice and all things nice.

– Maltmonster

1 thought on “Glenrothes: A Tasting Through The Seventies

  1. Andrew Ferguson

    Glenrothes and the downfall of disco… once again Malt Monster I congratulate you on your irreverent whit and your innability to let go of past wrongs! You’ve created less than probable conspiracy where none exists… good tasting notes though!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s