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I should preface the tasting by first mentioning that this is by no means a top shelf edition from this distillery, and yet…

I rather prefer Shakespeare’s catechetical poetics when rendering truth. I particularly appreciate his words spoken to Cardinal Wolsey through the King in the third act of King Henry VIII: “And ’tis a kind of good deed to say well; And yet words are no deeds” (Act III, scene ii). In other words, talk is cheap. Say what you’d like, and with great eloquence if you are able, but if you cannot align the words with substance or action, then your effort is only a “kind of good deed.”

Take, for example, Dewar’s. Snappy commercials, wouldn’t you say, with some noteworthy celebrities? Or Scoresby. Lots of advertising there, even being sure to communicate “36 Months Old” in the lengthy paragraph just below where it so prominently shouts “Very Rare” on the label. And Lauder’s, well, they sell that by the gallon… literally.

The Glenrothes has long acknowledged that talk is cheap, and so while many whiskies brandish the wordy weapons of popular prominence in various marketplaces, Glenrothes (under the careful eye of Berry Brothers & Rudd) stays the course, saying only what needs to be said in advertisements and reducing even these remarks to lesser etchings on the tiniest of labels that adorn each of its trademark “grenade” bottles. Talk is cheap. Let the fuller confession of love for whisky making be evident in the deed.

This is true of the Glenrothes Select Reserve.

The nose of this edition is bolder than I expected. There is at first what seems to be only a whisper of fruit, but then another inhalation brings about the distinct trace of mandarin oranges in heavy syrup. Add to this the sense that someone is baking a holiday treat and chose almond oil as a replacement for vanilla. There are similarities between the two, but the nutty character is certainly the subtitle to the work.

The palate, well, it paints a picture. I reminisced of a warm stack of pancakes being set before me, each one carefully dusted with a little bit of cinnamon and not yet matched with maple syrup.

The finish is far too short, leaving behind a swift memory of the spice and the original fruitiness. I wish it were longer.

For the price, this is an exceptional whisky. And because talk is cheap, you may rest assured that I shall follow my words with action. I shall retrieve another of this rendering once my current supply expires.