Chieftain’s Range (4th release for the US) – Glenrothes 12yo single cask # 16415, first fill sherry

Speyside region – 46%ABV – $53 – $67 (pretty wide spread here – I’ve provided a link to the store that offers it for $53)

What is “Chieftain’s“?  Chieftain’s is a well respected and award winning independent bottler owned by Ian MacLeod Distillers (the same people that own Glengoyne) and have the good fortune of being able to choose their whiskies from one of the largest (if not THE largest) whisky warehouses in Scotland: The Ian MacLeod warehouse which houses many tens of thousands of casks of whisky at any given time.  That’s a nice position to be in for an independent bottler!

This single cask of The Glenrothes interestingly enough, was bottled at 46% ABV rather than cask strength.  When it comes to independent bottlers, and as ABV’s are concerned, Chieftain’s seems to do things a bit different.  As a rule of thumb, most indy bottlers will bottle single casks at 40%, 43%, 45%, 46%, 50% or cask strength and they will stick to that ABV for nearly every release.

Rules, however are meant to be broken.  Chieftain’s seems to bounce around a bit and will bottle somewhere between Cask Strength and 46% depending on the release, yet they are always non-chill filtered (thankfully) and have no added coloring.

As mentioned, this whisky was bottled at 46%; a full 3% higher than nearly all OB bottlings of The Glenrothes (and again, non-chill filtered and no added coloring).  Let’s see what happens.

On the nose  Seems very true to the Glenrothes house style – Soft sherry, saw dust and slivovitz (plum brandy) fill the nostrils.

It’s like an off-the-shelf, owner’s bottling, Glenrothes with a bit of a kick (the extra 3% ABV points, perhaps?).

Notes that I usually associate with a nice Sassacaia wine – cedar wood, cherries, earthy chocolate.

Fresh birch tree bark (golden birch).

On the mouth Decent attack with a touch of burn and mild viscosity.

While this isn’t a peated whisky, I’m struck with some coal soot from the start then a slight metallic quality (household knives and forks).

After that I’m presented with spiced apple sauce and spice drops.

Bitter chocolate (80% cocoa bars).

Cedar bark and fresh gardening mulch.

Finish Bitters and a touch of mint.  Decent length.

In sum Comparable in experience to The Glenrothes standard 90’s vintages out now – the Glenrothes quality really shines through and if that’s your bag – you’re in for a treat here!  While I think of sherried whiskies as digestifs, I’m more apt to suggest this as an aperitif.

Special thanks goes out to Impex Beverages for the sample!

The Scotch Tasting Bums seemed to like this one.

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