The Glenrothes Vintage Reserve’s color is that of a beautiful dark amber comprised of congealed ebony tree sap that’s been ground into fine dust and used as polish for the cedar prow of a trireme. Of course, I’m colorblind, so take that with a (coarse) grain of salt. I tried to convince myself that the nose might not have an archetypal Glenrothes spine of beef burgundy—really, I told myself that even though it’s their signature scent, even though it’s in their DNA, perhaps this will be a mutant expression that will envelop me in, say, Medusa snakes spun into platinum and onyx straws by Rumpelstiltskin…and, no. It still has that beef burgundy imprint that I’ve come to love. It’s lighter this time, like it’s been mixed with sour cherries and Greek yogurt by a blender with mad skills, a veritable Willy Wonka—excuse me, a veritable ‘Willie MacWonka.’
Exceptionally smooth when it first hits my tongue, as if I’d stumbled into a unique massage parlor that holds an esoteric doctrine that the nerves in the tongue mirror those in the body, and as such, relaxing the tongue will unknot the body. The twist is that this parlor works its magic by coating your tongue with zinnia nectar combined with that of saguaro blossoms, and then letting a charm of Costa’s hummingbirds loose at it. Then, it is the seemingly continuous flicking of their tongues that works the magic. I also got marzipan marbles, essence of Delacroix, unripe kumquats, and the lofty aspirations of a 14 year old hoyden just accepted to Caltech. Shoe polish, too, but a reeeeaaalllly niiiice shoe polish that’s custom produced for Michael Flatley. [Stephen: You mean it’s heat resistant? Or maybe cheeseball resistant?]
The finish doubles down like A-Rod playing a full house in an illegal poker club. (Little does he know that Bronson Arroyo is holding a straight flush.) There’s the same, but much more of it, and the deliquescent tongue-tappings have become hummingbird talon-tip-toed ostinados fading into a passacaglia performed to an aria from Carmen sung by Pagliacci. Confused? Not as much as I am!
On the scale of things that change, but don’t change much–
Somewhat like Captain Renault in Casablanca, the Glenrothes Vintage Reserve is watching a great movie for the second (or third or fourth) time–You pick up nuances; you see the layers. Released from the tension of “What happens next??”, you are able to peer deeper and deeper into the scriptural substructures. You feel microripples of joy and open up other wellsprings of emotion and critical capacities. Hello, old friend. I’m so glad you stopped by again.
–Our thanks to Anchor Distilling Co. for the sample!