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.
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
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
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
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
Offerings from Tenzing
112068 Glenrothes Alba Reserve, Speyside
122682 Glenrothes Scotch Whisky Select Reserve/2001/1998 Triple Pack, Speyside
114181 Glenrothes Scotch Whisky Select, Speyside
180012 Glenrothes Scotch Whisky Select, Speyside
126878 Glenrothes Scotch Whisky Select, Speyside 1992
1800101 Glenrothes Scotch Whisky Select, Speyside 1995
180011 Glenrothes Scotch Whisky Select, Speyside 1998
115038 Glenrothes Scotch Whisky, Speyside 2001
132642 Glenrothes Scotch Whisky Sherry Reserve, Speyside