Whisky of the Week gives you the chance to dictate what we drink. You get a choice of three whiskies and you simply vote for the whisky you prefer to see us talk about. It all takes place on our Instagram stories, so keep an eye out for next time. This week we’ve got The Glenrothes 12 Year Old to enjoy.
Getting to know The Glenrothes Distillery
The Glenrothes Distillery has a long history dating back to 1879 when it was first established in the town of Rothes, where it gets its name. It was James Stuart who led the project, backed by local coopers and businessmen, but a financial crash threatened to kill the distillery before it came into existence. A certain Reverend William Sharp was key in raising the funds needed to complete the building. Divine intervention, perhaps.
The brand was arguably best known in the 20th century as a key part of the Cutty Sark blend and in 1987 the brand’s owners, London wine merchants Berry Brothers & Rudd, decided to cut out the middleman and buy it themselves. Then it all gets a tad confusing. In 2010, Berry Brothers & Rudd sold Cutty Sark to Edrington in exchange for ownership of The Glenrothes brand. The distillery, however, remained part of Edrington which used the spirit in its blends. Then in 2017, Edrington bought the Glenrothes brand back. Still with me?
Today, the Speyside distillery makes whisky defined by what it calls the Four Corners of its production. One: its own supply of clear water, making it part of the few remaining distilleries in Scotland that has a unique source no other whisky maker touches. Two: slow distillation in very tall stills with boil bubbles which create a rich, weighty spirit. Three: the use of sherry-seasoned casks, which suits the heavier spirit. Four: the colour. Glenrothes always is and has been natural colour. The brand also uses very distinctive bottles and packaging to market its whisky, which makes them very giftable for birthdays/anniversaries/a terribly last-minute Father’s Day present.
Points two and three in particular are key because they absolutely carry through into liquid. Taste any Glenrothes single malt and you’ll be greeted by a thick, creamy, and fruity Scotch whisky that’s drenched in sherried tones. The flagship 12-year-old single malt from the Glenrothes distillery is a great introduction to this style. It was released as part of the Soleo Collection. This range takes its name from the process of sun-drying grapes in Jerez for sherry production, really hammering home the importance of sherry-seasoned casks in the brand’s spirit and identity. You can taste the impact for yourself, or watch what we had to say here:
Adam tastes The Glenrothes 12 Year Old
Nose: Gingerbread, stewed apple, and earthy vanilla, then orange peel, black tea, clove, and ripe tropical fruit notes emerge from its buttery biscuity base.
Palate: Creamy hazelnut, dried fruit, and a hint of cinnamon. Hints of chocolate, old leather, dried herbs, and tobacco add depth among Galia melon and honeyed oak.
Finish: Long and sweet with a touch of baking spice, marmalade, and more stewed fruits.