December 2018 Whisky of the Month:
We’ve teamed up with the one and only Glenrothes to present the hero of their highly anticipated new Soleo range, The Whisky Maker’s Cut.
It’s the stuff of whisky dreams, as the legend behind Glenrothes’ iconic sherried malts, Master Whisky Maker Gordon Motion, was granted free reign to create his perfect Glenrothes.
The result stands apart from all the rest: matured exclusively in first fill sherry seasoned oak casks, non-chillfiltered and with a far higher alcohol content at Motion’s preferred 48.8% ABV for the most amazing candied peel, nutmeg, creamy vanilla and rich spicy Christmassy character.
When the new flagship range launches in Australia next year it will replace all existing Glenrothes whiskies, but the jewel in its crown is only available right now here at the Club – when it’s gone there’ll be no more coming into the country until it joins the rest of the collection in bottleshops in 2020!
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Merry Christmas, Whisky Lovers!
Country of Origin:
The Glenrothes was established in 1879 by James Stuart, then owner of nearby Macallan (remember that for later on). He’d taken over the lease at Macallan in 1868 and things were going well. During that time he’d roped in a few friends including a solicitor named Cruikshank and two local agents from the Caledonian Bank, Robert Dick and Willie Grant to raise cash for expansion at Macallan, and trading as James Stuart & Co., business prospered. So good in fact that before long the lads felt the itch to build another, even larger distillery three miles downstream in Rothes…
So far, so good and work on Glenrothes commenced in the spring of 1878 on the site of an old saw mill opposite the town cemetery. With the neighbouring burn providing water power and plentiful supplies of pristine spring water, the setting was perfect – but the timing not so much. That summer Britain plunged into the worst economic crisis for almost a century and of course Messrs. Dick and Grant had borrowed heavily from their bank to finance the new distillery only to see the bank itself heading for collapse at the end of the year. With trouble and uncertainty looming Stuart split the partnership and hightailed back to the safety of Macallan while the other three struggled on as W Grant & Co (not the Glenfiddich one). Remarkably they managed to continue funding the construction and in May of ’79 the local press were shown round what was clearly a smaller, though no less impressive distillery than originally planned, with the local paper declaring it ‘extensive yet compact’ and ‘bearing the stamp of superiority’.
The first spirit flowed from The Glenrothes’s stills on 28 December 1879. Word spread and thanks to its unique flavour, structure and body The Glenrothes soon became highly sought after as a ‘top dressing’ in blends, so much so that today Glenrothes is still found at the heart of some of the world’s finest blends such as Cutty Sark and The Famous Grouse. Indeed, only about 3% of the distillery’s annual output has ever been used for malt whisky, the rest all proving the all-important vital ingredient to The Famous Grouse.
In 1887 Grant & Co. merged with the Islay Distillery Co. to form Highland Distillers Company Ltd and in 1999 The Glenrothes was reunited with its sibling The Macallan when The Edrington Group and William Grant & Sons came together to buy Highland Distillers. Today it sits proudly at the centre of The Edrington Group’s portfolio alongside Highland Park, Glenturret and of course The Macallan.
While the distillery’s history is quite straightforward, The Glenrothes Single Malt has enjoyed a singular history of its own. The concept of a Glenrothes malt whisky, and in particular a Vintage single malt, was actually conceived by Berry Brothers and Rudd (BBR), London’s oldest wine merchants. BBR and Glenrothes had been working together since the 1920s when BBR approached Glenrothes to be the home for their blended whisky, Cutty Sark. In 1993 they approached distillery with the idea of creating a Glenrothes single malt that they, BBR, would then distribute. Being wine merchants they brought with them the concept of bottling whisky by the vintage and so The Glenrothes Single Malt was born. While the brand was distributed and effectively run by BBR, it was still owned by Edrington and in 2010 Edrington and BBR did a convivial swap of The Glenrothes Single Malt and Cutty Sark allowing BBR to fully focus on selling vintage malts, while Edrington rolled Cutty Sark into its blends portfolio. In 2017 things came full circle again when Edrington bought The Glenrothes Single Malt and Rothes House, the brand’s spiritual home, back from BBR and today both Cutty Sark and Glenrothes Single Malt are both firmly in Scottish hands and BBR is back to the wine business.
Understandably things have been a bit quiet on the Glenrothes front since the sale last year, nothing to be alarmed about of course, more of a calm before the proverbial storm that is the brand new Soleo Collection and we’re delighted to present the hero of the range, The Whisky Maker’s Cut, exclusive to The Whisky Club this Christmas.
About Glenrothes Whisky Maker’s Cut Single Malt Whisky:
Since its inception in 1993 The Glenrothes Single Malt has been synonymous with vintages. Inspired by BBR’s wine background the premise was to select and bottle the very best whisky from a single year to provide connoisseurs with an ever-evolving snapshot in time, an approach that’s proven very popular over the decades.
The new Soleo Collections sees The Glenrothes Single Malt depart from vintage malts and focus exclusively on sherry cask maturation and most notably, introduces age statements for the first time in the brand’s history. Named after the process of sun-drying palomino grapes before they’re pressed for Sherry production – the palomino grape is very pale in colour but grows darker the longer it sits in the sun – this darkening of the grape is reflected in the colour scheme of the Soleo Collection’s packaging, starting yellow with the beautifully light 10 Year Old and getting darker as the whisky gets older through to the dark, sticky 25 Year Old.
The Whisky Maker’s Cut is the flagship at centre of the brand new Soleo Collection, the result of Master Whisky Maker Gordon Motion’s free reign to conceive and create his perfect Glenrothes malt. Matured exclusively in first fill sherry seasoned oak casks he selected his preferred cut at a solid 48.8% resulting in a remarkably bold malt, non-chill filtered and bottled at natural colour that stands apart from the rest of the Collection and its quite literally all we want for Christmas, that and our two front teeth of course.
And so to wrap up what’s been a marvellous year of malt whisky we’re hugely proud to partner with The Glenrothes to present the hero of their highly anticipated new Soleo range, The Whisky Maker’s Cut, exclusive to The Club this Christmas. Merry Christmas folks.
$125 per bottle + $15 flat fee postage
Age on release:
Matured exclusively in first fill sherry seasoned casks
The Glenrothes quick facts
Place of origin: Burnside Street, Rothes, Aberlour, Moray, AB38 7AA, Scotland
Water source: Ardcanny and Brauchhill Springs
Number of stills: 5 wash and 5 spirit
Capacity: 5,200,000 litres per annum
Nose: Unmistakably Glenrothes. Ripe bananas and candied orange peel mingle with sticky raisins, creamy fudge and chocolate mousse.
Palate: Rich and spicy with orange peel, creamy vanilla, raisins, a touch of molasses and hints of rich blackberry jam.
Finish: Long and fruity with orange peel and a hint of nutmeg. Delightfully Christmassy.
Christmas pudding. Of course.