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The 28th of December 1879 saw much of Scotland engulfed by a terrible storm. High winds battered the land, coming to a head on the east coast where the force of the storm exposed serious flaws in the design of the Tay bridge. It’s designer, Sir Thomas Bouche, had failed to take account of the effect high winds would have on the construction and when the train from Wormit attempted to cross the already straining structure, the whole bridge collapsed, resulting in the tragic death of all 75 people onboard.
Meanwhile, approximately 120 miles north in the village of Rothes a small Distillery was running spirit for the very first time. Although Glenrothes distillery had been built in 1878, production didn’t commence until the end of the following year – on the same day as one of the worst disasters the country had ever seen.
Many saw this as a bad omen for the distilleries future and it would be fair to say that it had more than its fair share of bad luck over the years, including suffering the devastating consequences of fire on more than one occasion.
One of these incidents took place in 1922. A hapless distillery worker who was repairing a leaky cask in the No. 1 warehouse, accidentally knocked over a candle, setting the whole building ablaze. The warehouse was completely destroyed, resulting in the loss of 2,500 casks – around 200,000 gallons of whisky. Apparently, villagers from miles around descended upon the scene in order to help themselves to the escaping whisky which trickled down the street.
Luckily, Glenrothes’ fortunes seem to have improved since then. Shortly after the fire of ’22 the distillery began a long-running relationship with London wine and spirits retailer Berry Bros & Rudd, which would eventually lead to Berry’s owning and marketing the Glenrothes Single Malt brand, while the distillery remained with Edrington. This agreement just recently came to an end with the announcement in early 2017 that the brand would return to Edrington.
What this will mean for the range remains to be seen but it seems likely that Glenrothes will continue to be bottled as a selection of vintages and reserves, at least in the short term. The current core range is made up of the Vintage Reserve, Bourbon Cask Reserve and Sherry Cask Reserve along with regular vintage releases.
Smell: Unsurprisingly, the nose offers up rich Sherry notes of Raisins & Sultana’s, Fig and Dark Chocolate. There’s also a touch of Burnt Toast and Brown Sugar with Vanilla and even Custard.
Taste: Orange and Caramel with Chocolate Raisins and Christmas Cake along with a generous helping of Ginger.
Value for Money: For a No Age Statement expression, bottled at 43% it is perhaps a little pricey at £55, but having said that, there is no doubting the quality on offer.
A very pleasant sherried dram that despite seeming a little pricey at first, more than makes up for it with depth of flavour and a wonderful silky texture. Normally I would advocate a higher bottling strength but to be honest, it feels like they got this just about spot on at 43%. No water required here for me, sipped neat at this bottling strength it is just right.