The Glenrothes and Glenfiddich Tasting Experience

Welcome to: The Glenrothes and Glenfiddich Tasting Experience

In this tasting experience we are delighted to feature to powerhouse brands that product simply sublime Single Malt in Speyside/Highlands.

Lets dive in!

The Glenrothes Logo

The Glenrothes is an award winning Speyside Single Malt and a pioneer in the whisky

industry. All their Single Malt is Vintage Whisky. And when they say Vintage, they don’t just mean aged; they mean whisky distilled in a particular year that has reached its peak of maturity, character and flavour.

This philosophy is at the very heart of what The Glenrothes does. Their Malt Master selects whisky only when it is ready, not at a pre-determined age. These selected, rare and limited Vintages are then married together to create the Reserves or bottled individually as Single Vintages.

Consequently, The Glenrothes is not your typical whisky; it is one which is always
perfectly ready to be savored. It is The Vintage Single Malt.

The Glenrothes cask selection

Reserves, Single Vintages and Special Releases

What makes The Glenrothes different is also what makes it exceptional. At the Glenrothes, they only bottle their  Single Malt Whisky at the moment it reaches its peak of maturity and taste. Thus, all of their whisky is, by its very nature, Vintage.

You see, age statements are no guarantee of quality or taste. What happens to the whisky in the cask is far more important than the number of years it spends inside it. Much like a fine wine, whisky matures at its own pace. Which is why each individual cask of theirs is carefully checked, nosed and tasted many times over many years, until perfect.

Every expression they create must have its own unique personality, underpinned by their distillery’s characteristic flavor profile – ripe fruits, citrus, vanilla and an exquisite spicy finish all encased in the creamiest of textures and with a complex yet theyll-poised balance. Only when it meets their thorough requirements can it be bottled, either within one of their exquisite Reserves, as a unique and finite Single Vintage, or as a much sought-after Special Release


Exceptional Vintages from different years married together in perfect harmony.

Their Reserves are the heart of their range and the greatest expertise is required to create those with specific flavor profiles. Each of the individual Vintages married within a Reserve have been selected to give the final product a character, maturity and balance that delivers the best possible flavors.

Their Select Reserve is laden with ripe fruits, juicy citrus, creamy vanilla and hints of exotic spice. This, the original Reserve, is the expression that best epitomizes, and sits at the very heart of The Glenrothes range in terms of taste and flavor.

The Glenrothes Robur Reserve benefits from a greater proportion of Spanish oak first fill sherry cask influence, making it spicy, fruity, sweet and delicious. For the Alba Reserve, they used whisky matured exclusively in American oak refill bourbon casks. It therefore delivers coconut and vanilla in abundance, and is soft and mellow with a crème brulée flavor and feel. The Vintage Reserve, their latest addition, marries ten of their very finest Vintages to create a mature yet vibrant expression that combines mellow oak and dried fruit flavors, as they’ll as lemon citrus notes.

Single Vintages

Exceptional Vintages of a single year, limited and rare small batch releases.

Of the Single Vintages produced so far, more than half are no longer available. Each one we produce has its own distinctive personality created by the combination of cask size, wood type and time. By choosing a Glenrothes Single Vintage you can be assured that all the whisky, carefully selected by the Malt Master, is perfectly ready to be savored, whether it is 10, 14, 18 or 22 years old.

Second editions

On occasion we also release further editions of Single Vintages that have benefited from more maturation time to create new flavor profiles.

These second and even third editions are casks that were not ready at the first bottling and so were held back for extra maturation. These editions benefit from being unchillfiltered, natural in color and higher in strength. The result is noticeably different flavors from the first editions, released only when ready and at their very best.

The birth of the Vintage Single Malt

On 28th December 1879 the first pure spirit flowed from the stills at The Glenrothes distillery.

The Glenrothes Distillery from afar

The quality of this spirit quickly became prized inside information within the whisky industry and highly sought after by Master Blenders.

Here was an immaculate Speyside Malt Whisky, drawing its flavours from the prime barley of the region, the careful creation of the spirit and the resulting richness of both American and Spanish oak casks. Its flavour, structure and body created a quality enhancer of choice for Master Blenders across the length and breadth of Scotland for over a hundred years. Which is why it is at the heart of some of the world’s finest whiskies.

In the early 1990’s London’s oldest wine and spirit merchant Berry Bros & Rudd Ltd, the owners of The Glenrothes whisky, took the bold step of bringing to life the pioneering Vintage Single Malt we know and enjoy today. The concept then, as it is now, was to find whiskies from the distillery which would represent the best of a particular year – that is a Vintage. Being a wine and spirit merchant, we understand if you combine different Vintages you can make great products, unlike other Single Malts which wait until they are exactly, for example, 12 years old.

After all, the similarities with the finest wines are many: the best selection of one particular year and each Vintage with a different personality but sharing the same character. With whisky as with wine, Vintages are both finite and rare. Berry Bros & Rudd Ltd. recognised that the distillers’ advanced understanding of the maturation process had promising implications for future Vintages: 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.

This is why the idea of a declared Vintage came naturally to Berry Bros & Rudd Ltd. As did the craft of marrying the best casks of different years to create Reserves, in many respects a far more complex task requiring great expertise to deliver the best possible flavours.

Berry Bros's

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 for it.

The search then begun to find casks of such outstanding quality that Berry Bros & Rudd Ltd. felt worthy of their new concept and could stamp it with the “Vintage” seal. The Glenrothes Distillery Manager went to work on finding the first Vintage cask, checking the progress of maturation, nosing a sample from each.

He was searching for a cask so good that it clearly shone out above all others. And in the 1979 he discovered it.

The 1979 Single Vintage was exceptional and the first of its kind in the Scotch Whisky industry. It was soon followed by others and in time, the equally special Select Reserve, our first Reserve. It showcased the perfect marriage of exceptional Vintages, creating a characteristic flavour profile our Malt Master was proud to put his name to.

Glenfiddich Modern Logo

Because Glenfiddich is an extremely well known brand, I thought we could look into some of the lesser known history of this gorgeous malt. 

In the autumn of 1886 William Grant, son of Dufftown tailor and Manager of Mortlarch Distillery, bought the distilling equipment from Elizabeth Cummings of Cardhu for £120 (including stills and a water mill). Since his annual salary was £100. this too a long time for him to amass this fortune in order to fund this venture.

With his wife and nine children, he set about carting stone from the bed of the River Fiddich and building his distillery on a site on the edge of town named Glenfiddich, 'the valley of the deer'. The first whisky ran from its stills on Christmas Day 1887.

Hi family all joined William Grant in the enterprise, and the company is still controlled by his descendants, now into the fifth generation. Fortunately, soon after Glenfiddich began production, William  Williams & Company, blenders in Aberdeen, placed an order for 400 gallons a week - the entire production output of the distillery!

Soon the family were offering their own blends, including Standfast (the motto of the clan Grant), and selling them overseas as well as in the U.K.  By 1914 the company had established 63 agencies around the world which sold and distributed their product to local markets. 

In 1963 the Directors of William Grant & Sons took the unprecedented step of bottling Glenfiddich Pure Malt (Straight Malt as it was known in the USA) and marketing it in the same way that blended Scotch had been marketed; at first to England and then to the rest of the world.

The venture was a huge success, export sales alone exceeded 119,500 cases per year by 1974. That year the company was granted the Queens Award for Export Achievement. The first whisky company to be honored with this award.  

Tasting Notes

The Glenrothes - Alba Reserve

The Glenrothes normal wood policy uses a combination of Spanish and American oak, seasoned with sherry, bourbon and malt Scotch. Not so the Alba Reserve. For this expression John Ramsay has used Glenrothes matured exclusively in American oak refill bourbon casks. It therefore delivers coconut and vanilla in abundance, and is soft and mellow with a crème brulée flavour and feel. Quercus Alba is the Latin name for White (or American) oak; and Alba is the Gaelic word for Scotland.

Appearance: Pale straw, clear and bright
Bouquet: Fresh, floral, coconut, American oak vanilla
Palate: Soft mellow, creme brulee and berry fruits
Finish: Smooth, sweet, medium length

The Glenrothes - Vintage 1995

With about 30% from first fill American Sherry oak delivering butterscotch: Spice and dried fruits from 1st fill Spanish Sherry oak and the rest from refill casks giving the characteristic Glenrothes balance and complexity of flavour. Arguably it is preferable post-dinner when conversation is in full flow. It fulfils every anticipation of The Glenrothes: A "come-hither" nose filled with exotic spices is followed by a citrus and fruity richness coated in honeyed butterscotch. These flavours, and more, are all delivered on the palate culminating with a long, rich and satisfying, fruity spiciness.

Appearance: Medium golden, clear and bright

Bouquet: Rich, spicy vanilla, golden syrup and lemongrass

Palate: Soft, mature, sweet vanilla with a hint of cinnamon

Finish: Smooth, long, rich vanilla

The Glenrothes - Vintage 1992 - Edition 2

The First Edition of this fine Vintage was released in 2004 when then Malt Master, John Ramsey, selected casks that he deemed to be at their best. But some of the whisky, he suggested, needed more time. Now, 10 years on, it is ready. This Second Edition is unchill-filtered and natural in colour, aged in a mixture of refilled Sherry Butts and American Hogsheads and bottled at 44.3%, a higher strength than the First Edition, giving it even greater intensity and a richer character. A different style to the First Edition.

Appearance: Saffron gold
Bouquet: Fruity citrus notes, vanilla and a hint of lychee
Palate: Sweet, vanilla and lemon peel with a touch of creamed coconut
Finish: Long and lingering

Glenfiddich - Rich Oak 14

After 14 years maturing in fine American oak casks, the Glenfiddich Malt Master carefully selects virgin Spanish and American oak casks to release extra layers of aroma and flavour into the whisky.
With precision timing and handling he allows just the right amount of sweet vanilla, soft toffee, spice and gentle nutty notes to come through.
The first virgin American and European oak finished whisky in the world.

Appearance: Rich Golden
Bouquet: A complex harmony of fresh fruits and spices. Initial spicy oak notes follow vibrant vanilla and rich dried fruit.
Palate: Rich and sweet vanilla with a silky texture and elegant hints of fruit. Deeper and richer with time and a subtle nutty character emerges
Finish: Nuttiness develops into a spicy oak finish.

If you have enjoyed this tasting and would love to purchase more, please visit our good friends over at Providing second to none service and a broad range of delightful malts to select.

Buy Glenfiddich and The Glenrothes today! 

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