It's been quite some time since I last tasted my Glenrothes Special Reserve. I bought the bottle shortly before I started in on American whiskey, followed by wine; and I'm just now getting back to Scotch. You will recall that Glenrothes is one of the malt distilleries owned by the Edrington Group, which also owns such other properties as Highland Park, Macallan, and Tamdhu; and that its recent claim to fame lies in their primary bottlings being vintage. Vintage spirits are rarities, and they're practically unheard-of in the world of Scotch. The rarity and novelty of vintage Scotches and the quality of their bottlings allow Glenrothes to sell their vintage Scotches for a pretty penny, and it's also what allows them to sell their non-vintage, non-age-designated Special Reserve bottling for more than most 12 year old Scotches on the market.
Well, I can't honestly claim to feel ripped off by the price. What matters is the quality of the spirit in the bottle, not the age on the bottle; and the quality of the spirit in the bottle is high. Speyside malts are known for their elegance and finesse. This Scotch doesn't have a whole lot of either. It's BIG and significantly more peaty than most Speyside whiskies. I get a lot of apple on the palate, but that's not the dominant impression. Rather, it's in the background as the body and the smoke pound my senses. I like it, although I probably wouldn't want to drink it every day.
Oh, and the last time I was in Spec's, I noticed that the 1992 vintage of Glenrothes is available now, and for "only" $55 a bottle. That's not inexpensive, but it's cheaper than the '91. It's also not unreasonable for a 15 year old Scotch.