Advent Day 23: 1988 “Ginger Spice” Glenrothes 24 y.o. (Wemyss Malts)

Secret Spirits Advent Calendar Day 23 – December 23rd005

1988 “Ginger Spice” Glenrothes 24 y.o. (Wemyss Malts)

Cask #4249 Sherry Butt

46% abv

Score:  90/100


A whisky from the Secret Spirits Advent Calendar First Edition.

Glenrothes has to be one of my least favorite Speyside distilleries.  Ironically, if you peruse the site here you’ll find some rather high scores for various ‘Rothes releases.  Here’s the issue though:  Those high flying ~90 pointers are all from the 1970s.  Their contemporary releases are anything but magic.  Almost like the Ron Weasley of magic actually.  I find their NAS (Select and Alba) to be middling at best, and almost magnetically repelling when I’m out bottle shopping.  Additionally, any of the vintage releases where you do occasionally find some quality (I said “some”) start to creep up into the >two digit pricing spheres.

You can only imagine my delight, then, upon cracking open door number 23’s 1988 ‘Rothes only to find out my lowered expectations were all for nigh.  Not messing with ya.  This is one of the most enjoyable Glenrothes releases I’ve ever found.  It’s complex, harmonious and most importantly…actually quite seductive.  I’m guessing this was a second fill butt, by its subtlety and nuance.  There is no over-the-top sherry whomp; just a sweet and balanced malt perfectly suited to evening dramming with a good book or chunk o’ dark chocolate.

Nose:  Orange marmalade.  Slightly jammy.  Cinnamon-spiced molasses cookies.  Bread dough.  The longer it settles down in the glass, the more aromatically balanced it gets.  Very nice nose.  Slight floral background.  Easier on the sherry influence than I’d expected.

Palate:  Very soft and pleasant delivery.  Extremely gentle sherry.  Some orange notes show through.  Crispy, browned sugar cookies.  Stays sweet and syrupy throughout, but has a perfect spice blend too.  Great long finish.  Never dries out.  Leaves beautiful sweet apple-ish notes.

Thoughts:  I’d almost not guess this was a sherry butt.  Certainly not first fill.  One of the most enjoyable Glenrothes releases I’ve ever tried.  Also…one of the most fun in the whole calendar.

Bonus:  My mate, Jonathan, and I are gonna blog on these drams side by side through the season.  Here’s a link to his notes on the same whisky at


– Reviewed by:  Curt

– Photo:  Curt

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