You can’t help someone who doesn’t want to be helped. You’ve heard that before, right? No matter how hard you try to make someone’s situation better (which sometimes isn’t what people want you to do), good intentions do not always prevail. There have been numerous times in my life where I’ve tried to help friends or family members with problems, only to have my efforts thrown back in my face. There have been occasions when I’ve tried to give very detail-oriented customers the exact service they’re asking for, only to discover that bending over backward sometimes still isn’t enough. And there have been plenty of situations where a brand or company has asked me for my professional input, only to realize that the advice I had for them wasn’t necessarily what they wanted to hear. Sometimes you have to know when not to help someone, and just take a step back; understanding that no one on either side stands to gain from your potential inclusion into the fold. That’s been a big lesson for me lately. I’m learning to to distance myself from certain scenarios, even when I think I might have a solution to the issue at hand.
Not everyone wants to admit they have a problem either; especially large booze companies with millions of dollars already invested in an idea. When you mention to a whisky producer that some of their whiskies can maybe, sometimes, every-now-and-then—you know?—taste a teeny-weeny, little-bit like sulfur, it’s not always a message that’s received with open arms. When Berry Bros & Rudd took over the Glenrothes label from the Edrington Group, I was curious to see what might happen. I’ve always had a soft-spot in my heart for the big GR because the Select Reserve was the first single malt I ever purchased. There are times when I find the distillery’s sherry-matured whisky a godsend, and there are other times when I find them to be a bit funky. When the boys in London took control of the reigns, I was interested to see which side of the Glenrothes coin they would embrace: the old world, or the new. Only a few years after the reboot I have my answer. I got a chance to try the new Sherry Reserve this past week and I was really taken aback.
“WOW. That’s fantastic,” I said to Chris Fu, my Anchor rep; with eyes widened and a smile on my face. Our old manager Doug Davidson happened to be visiting that day, and he and I had cut our teeth on Glenrothes together back in 2007. I invited him back to the bar for a taste.
“That’s really, really good,” he exclaimed. “That’s much better than the Select Reserve I remember having.”
“Right?!” I added on.
Glendronach 12 and Balvenie Doublewood have a serious new competitor, even without the age statement. The Glenrothes Sherry Reserve is full of that sweet, brown sugar-laden note of fresh Oloroso sherry right on the first sip, and it rounds out beautifully through the mid-palate, all the way through to the finish. It’s clean, malty, chewy, and full of classic Glenrothes character; just without any of that old style funk. I think it's just as good as Aberlour 12 Non-Chillfiltered, softer than Glendronach 12, and just plain better than Balvenie 12 Doublewood. I might make this my new house whisky for the next few months. A reminder of the olden days, but with a steamlined and polished new finish. Well done, Glenrothes. Well done, indeed.