Anchor Distilling

The Glenrothes

Rothes (Speyside), Scotland

Vintage Expressions Of Speyside Single Malt Highlight Legendary Malt Master John Ramsay's Original Vision

A Secret Among Blenders

On December 28, 1879, the first spirit flowed from the stills at the Glenrothes distillery. The flavor, structure and body of The Glenrothes whisky created a "top dressing" of choice for master blenders across the length and breadth of Scotland, which is why it is at the heart of some of the world's finest blends such as Cutty Sark, The Famous Grouse, and other great names. The malts used in a blend, if not exactly a secret, are not common knowledge. So, for over a hundred years and for a good twenty years after the renaissance of single malt whiskies, The Glenrothes remained essentially unknown. The name didn't register with any but discerning whisky drinkers and the fraternity of master blenders.

Berry Bros. & Rudd

The whisky was well known, however, to London's oldest established wine merchants Berry Bros. & Rudd Ltd., who had been providing their discerning customers with the finest wines and spirits from their premises at No.3 St. James's Street since 1698. In the early 1990s, Berry Bros. & Rudd decided to create a premium quality niche in the developing single malt whisky market. They certainly had The Glenrothes firmly in mind just as they had previously when, in 1923, they developed the revolutionary lighter styled Cutty Sark blended whisky.

A Vintage Approach To Whisky

The concept was to find whiskies from Glenrothes which would represent the "best of the best." The idea of declaring vintages came naturally to Berry Bros. & Rudd, given their extensive experience with wine. After all, the similarities with the finest wines are many-most significantly that each vintage offers a different personality while sharing the same character. And, with whisky as with wine, vintages are both finite and rare. Berry Bros. & Rudd recognized that the distillers' advanced understanding of the maturation process had promising implications for future vintages, as they would not be locked into the consistency associated with products of fixed ages, whose personality remains the same in each bottling and whose recipe is frozen in time. For an industry wedded to the notion of producing the exact same product year in year out, this was an unusual idea. And The Glenrothes, with its exceptional quality, seemed the natural choice to test it. In addition to the core of vintage bottling, several reserve whiskies were created to offer non-vintage expressions that typify the distillery's house style, most notably The Glenrothes Select Reserve.


Products:

The Glenrothes Reserves

John Ramsay, the former Glenrothes Malt Master, started a new tradition at Glenrothes which the current Malt Master, Gordon Motion, has continued: a selection of The Glenrothes that typifies the distillery house character of ripe fruits, citrus, vanilla and hints of spice.

The Glenrothes Vintage Reserve
The Glenrothes Vintage Reserve

Vintage Reserve is the expression that best epitomises The Glenrothes Vintage Single Malt philosophy. It contains 10 different Vintages from the following years: 1989, 1992, 1997, 1998, 2000, 2001, 2004, 2005, 2006 & 2007 married together in wood. The variety of Vintages and cask types gives it a balance of mature experience and vibrant youth. For example, Vintage 1989 is the oldest, and brings mellow oak and dried fruits; Vintage 1998 makes up over 25%, and adds soft, mature and sweet vanilla notes; and Vintage 2007 is the most youthful, adding the uplifting lemon citrus notes. Like all The Glenrothes Reserves, Malt Master Gordon Motion hand selects from just 3% of the very finest casks, only bottling whisky that is at the peak of its maturity. 40% ABV

  • Gold Medal - International Spirits Challenge, 2016
  • Gold Medal - The Scotch Whisky Masters, 2016
  • 93 Points - Ultimate Spirits Challenge, 2016
The Glenrothes Select Reserve
The Glenrothes Select Reserve

After a decade of producing only Vintage Expressions of The Glenrothes, Malt Master John Ramsay created the Select Reserve to embody the house style of ripe fruits, citrus, vanilla and hints of spice. The Select Reserve is produced to the same high quality standards as The Glenrothes Vintage Expressions, only here it's chosen and vatted from casks of different years. 40% ABV

  • Gold Medal - San Francisco World Spirits Competition, 2012
  • Best in Class - World Whiskies Awards, 2008
The Glenrothes Alba Reserve
The Glenrothes Alba Reserve

The Glenrothes typically uses a combination of Spanish and American oak that has been seasoned with sherry, bourbon or scotch. For the Alba Reserve, John Ramsay exclusively used American oak bourbon casks, both fresh and refill. The use of wood results in an elegant and stylish expression of The Glenrothes, with notes of vanilla and coconut in abundance. Alba Reserve is a certified kosher product. 40% ABV

  • 92 Points, Excellent, Highly Recommended - Ultimate Spirits Challenge, 2014
  • Double Gold Medal - San Francisco World Spirits Competition, 2010
The Glenrothes Bourbon Cask Reserve
The Glenrothes Bourbon Cask Reserve

A certified kosher expression, matured exclusively in American oak ex-bourbon casks. The Glenrothes' normal wood policy uses a combination of Spanish and American oak, seasoned with sherry, bourbon and malt scotch (known as refill). Of those, only bourbon is 100% kosher. It delivers notes of coconut and vanilla in abundance, and is soft and mellow with a crème brûlée flavor and feel. Bourbon Cask Reserve was certified in March 2009-and annually thereafter-by Rabbi Padwa of the London Beth Din. 40% ABV

  • 95 Points - Ultimate Spirits Challenge, 2016
  • Double Gold Medal - WSWA Tasting Competition, 2016
  • ★★★ Recommended - F. Paul Pacult's Spirit Journal, 2015
The Glenrothes Peated Cask Reserve
The Glenrothes Peated Cask Reserve

As the latest addition to the Reserve Collection, the Peated Cask Reserve reflects a time in the distillery's history when it formed an association with the Islay Distillery Co Ltd. in 1887. With this historical precedent serving as inspiration, The Glenrothes Distillery selected the Vintage 1992 single malt and gave it a temporary home in a cask hailing from the peaty lands of Islay thereby giving the whisky a kiss of peat smoke to complement but not overpower the usual Glenrothes characteristics. Malt Master Gordon Motion describes the whisky as, "Lemon fruitiness, spicy and deliciously smoky." 40% ABV

  • Gold Medal - The Scotch Whisky Masters, 2016
The Glenrothes Sherry Cask Reserve
The Glenrothes Sherry Cask Reserve

The Glenrothes has always been proud of the fact that it uses sherry casks in every expression except the Alba Reserve. Over 90% of all the casks used in the scotch whisky industry have once contained bourbon. Sherry casks are much rarer, and are made to specification in Jerez, Spain, costing approximately five times more for the wood than the ex-bourbon casks. The Glenrothes has long appreciated the depth of flavor derived from these casks, but has not until now developed a first-fill Sherry Cask expression. The casks are predominantly of European wood, which deliver a far greater array of flavors than the American equivalent, in particular regarding the resinous and dried fruit character underpinning the sherry top notes. 40% ABV

  • 93 Points, Gold Medal, Exceptional - International Review of Spirits, 2015
  • Double Gold Medal - WSWA Tasting Competition, 2015
The Glenrothes Vintage 1978
The Glenrothes Vintage 1978

First bottled in January 2008, the Vintage 1978 may well represent the last of the highly cherished, but heartbreakingly rare, 1970s vintages from The Glenrothes. As always with these exceptionally mature vintages, the quantities are very limited. Its character has been described by Ronnie Cox, Brand Heritage Director, as "Masses of spiced plum on the nose. Wonderful, cooked fruit compote, caramel fudge and orange syrup. Silky delivery, with a long, spicy finish." 43% ABV

  • Best Speyside Single Malt - World Whiskies Awards, 2008
The Glenrothes Vintage 1992
The Glenrothes Vintage 1992

In 2004, when the first 1992 vintage was released, then-Glenrothes Malt Master John Ramsay selected the casks he deemed at their best, but left some casks to mature longer. Current Malt Master Gordon Motion has maintained a close eye and nose on the casks and determined that, 10 years later, the second edition of 1992 is ready to enjoy. 1992 Vintage 2nd Edition is aged in a mixture of refilled sherry butts and American ex-bourbon hogsheads. 43% ABV

  • 95 Points, Extraordinary, Ultimate Recommendation - Ultimate Spirits Challenge, 2015
The Glenrothes Vintage 1995
The Glenrothes Vintage 1995

The Vintage 1995 was the first of the Vintage Expressions specifically laid in cask with the intention of bottling as The Glenrothes when mature. This was done by former Malt Master John Ramsay, who intended to replicate the classic Vintage 1979. It was matured in 30% first-fill American oak that The Glenrothes treated with sherry for 18 months, with refill casks providing the characteristic Glenrothes balance and complexity of flavor. A nose filled with exotic spices is followed by a citrus and fruity richness coated in honeyed butterscotch. These flavors, and more, are all delivered on the palate, culminating with a long, rich, and satisfying fruity spiciness. 43% ABV

  • "101 Whiskies To Try Before You Die" - Ian Buxton
The Glenrothes Vintage 1998
The Glenrothes Vintage 1998

The Vintage 1998 was the second vintage intentionally laid down to be bottled as The Glenrothes when mature, though it reached maturity prior to the Vintage 1995, making it the first of these vintages to be bottled. This is also Gordon Motion's first bottling as Malt Master. He describes the palate as tropical fruit forward with pineapple and mango developing into sweet bananas, coconut and classic Glenrothes vanilla pods. 43% ABV

  • 93 Points - Ultimate Spirits Challenge, 2011
The Glenrothes Vintage 2001
The Glenrothes Vintage 2001

The Vintage 2001 was selected from a variety of casks giving the whisky the maturity of oaky vanilla, the fullness of ripe black cherries, and a lingering finish of soft spices. "Complete and complex integrity in a glass," said Ronnie Cox, Brands Heritage Director. It has wonderful length and depth, making it hugely satisfying and an excellent demonstration of the Malt Master's skill and dedication to the art of wood management. 43% ABV

  • Gold Medal - WSWA Tasting Competition, 2014