This Glenrothes 1988 is a brawny example of the distillery’s character. The complexity of fruit is obviously there but there’s a depth and weight to it that you’d expect from such a deep and tawny amber. It’s been matured in both American bourbon and Spanish sherry casks, resulting in a fruity and nutty dram. Ronnie Cox, the Glenrothes’ Brand Heritage Director is ever so proud of this bottling, calling it “a fantastic reminder of how beautifully The Glenrothes ripens from vibrant, zesty youth to rich, full-bodied maturity.” They’ve taken a less-traditional twist on the packaging for this expression. Rather than the tall, slender bottles and wooden cases of the highly traditional packs, Glenrothes have plumped for a simple cardboard box with cut-outs front and back that allow the dark amber of the 1988 to shine through. There’s something almost American about the shade of the liquid and box that you can’t put your finger on – like a delectable bourbon you’ve been eyeing up – and the bottle is a sweet and squat overweight-puppy of a container. The label is modern compared to your average single-malt branding but it works perfectly in context. As it hits the nose, the strength of its character comes through with peel, dessert wine preserved fruit, vanilla, red apples, walnuts, oak and dates. Nutmeg and allspice join to keep your pecker up. The palate is soft and creamy, putting you in mind of marmalade and malt fruitcake with custard. It’s stopped from becoming schmaltzy by a breath of smoke. As it ends off, the fruitcake transmogrifies to ginger-nut biscuits and candied peel, allspice and roasted nuts draw the experience to a close. Glenrothes distillery is based by Burn of Rothes in the Speyside territory. It’s often used in blends like Cutty Sark but single malts are released too. Their house character holds true to the Speyside profile and has a rich, spicy, perfumed and fruited persona.