The first Glenrothes whisky was distilled in 1879 – a year after the distillery was founded. James Stuart, John Cruickshank, William Grant and Robert Dick founded the distillery together but the partnership dissolved after James Stuart was forced to sell his share due to financial issues. The remaining three founders formed William Grant & Co and continued production. William Grant & Co is not to be confused with William Grant & Sons who founded Glenfiddich distillery. In 1887 William Grant & Co merged with Islay Distillery Co (owners of Bunnahabhain) to form Highland Distillers Co. In 1999 the distillery was bought by the Edrington Group which then sold the distillery to current owners Berry Brothers and Rudd in 2010. Berry Brothers and Glenrothes have a history together since it’s spirit has been an important component in the popular Cutty Sark blend since 1922. Glenrothes is also a component in The Famous Grouse blend. The distillery has an enormous capacity of 5.6 million liters per year which is handled by their ten stills. They have a few official bottlings that are labeled as ‘vintages’ but their independent bottlings are known to be the best casks. This particular Glenrothes was distilled in 1996 and bottled 18 years later at 52.3% ABV by Exclusive Malts.
Nose: sweet honey, molasses, orange peels, gala apples, doughnut glaze
Mouth: full bodied, brown sugar, rich honey, green apple, cereal, malty, pie crust
Finish: mild spice, sugary sweetness, citrus, malty
Verdict: This is my first time tasting an indie Glenrothes and it starts out with a very pleasant nose. It’s rich with molasses, sweet honey, doughnut glaze and gala apples. It smells a bit like a fresh apple pie with a brown sugar and butter crust. In some ways it also smells like a high quality rum that uses grade A molasses in production. The rich sugar scents from the nose carry on to the palate. This whisky is full bodied with pronounced brown sugar notes and malty cereal. The malty flavor is rich and tastes similar to pie crust. There’s also some rich honey and green apple. On the whole this is a very delicious whisky – I mean who doesn’t like large helpings of brown sugar? The finish is malty as well with some sugary sweetness. It eventually becomes citrusy and slightly bitter. This is a very well rounded, full bodied and delicious whisky with tons tons of malty characteristics and sweet brown sugar. This is one of those drams that I could sip every night!