All about making whisky
‘Like-minded people share The Glenrothes’, declares the British advertising for this single malt, which is as rare as it is sought-after. In fact, The Glenrothes has always been sought out by master blenders, so much so that it wasn’t until 1994 that the first official bottling was released. Interestingly, each bottling is vintage-dated, except the young ‘Select Reserve’ and the 30 Year-Old.
Nonetheless, though the year of distillation is important, it is the choice of casks (mostly Spanish wood) that has the biggest influence on the aromatic profile of its ‘vintage’ years, each one with a different balance of spice, citrus and oak. You get a taste of this spicy character the minute you set foot in the Glenrothes distillery, where notes of gingerbread, cinnamon and nutmeg are exhaled in its brewing hall.
Its location is also interesting. To find the distillery hidden in the heart of the town of Rothes, on the road from Aberlour to Elgin, you have to follow directions to the ‘cemetery’. In fact, it faces the town’s old cemetery, whose tombstones, which are covered in black dust, pay tribute to the angels that watch over both kindred spirits and those that have passed away - as many a tourist guide will tell you. A setting that exudes serenity and longevity.
It is said that in 1979, the ghost of Bye-way Makalanga, an African adopted by Major Grant of the neighbouring Glen Grant distillery, appeared to workers on a number of occasions. His soul had apparently been stirred from its eternal sleep by the work being carried out to create the new still room. An expert in paranormal activity was rushed to the scene and entered into communion with the phantom who, having been reassured, ceased to cause trouble for the workers. Ever since, it has become customary to raise a “toast to the ghost” with a glass of The Glenrothes malt!