Just like you associate the seaside with fish and chips, when you think of Speyside, you can’t help but think of single-malt whisky. The two go hand in hand with one another, as has been the case for centuries.
Single-malt whisky is hugely popular here in the UK, particularly across Scotland, and when you begin to get a rough idea of just how many different types of Scotch there are to choose from, you’ll understand why that is.
Whereas there are plenty of distilleries located across Speyside, the Glenrothes Distillery is most certainly one of Speyside’s most popular distilleries, having lived prominently in the heart of Rothes for close to one and a half centuries.
One whisky from their distillery which wee dram lovers can’t seem to get enough of, is the independent bottler Spiritfilled Mythical Beasts Glenrothes 15 Year Old Whisky. A truly special release, it’s easy to see why this lovely dram has enjoyed such positive reviews and feedback as of late.
A Troubled Start
Located in the town of Rothes, in the heart of Speyside, Scotland, you will find the Glenrothes Distillery nestled snugly in a glen just on the outskirts of town. When you think of a Highlands distillery, this is the type of location that should spring to mind.
Having opened in 1879, the single-malt whisky produced at this particular distillery is nothing short of exceptional, and is amongst the highest sought-after whisky in Speyside, and Scotland for that matter.
The Glenrothes whisky is primarily matured in ex-sherry casks made from both European oak and American oak. This gives the whisky an unmistakable fruity finish and aroma and imparts heaps of flavour into the final product. They also use ex-bourbon casks from America, though to a much lesser extent. Primarily it is the ex-sherry casks that steal the show.
Having replaced their vintage range with a selection of age statement single malts including a 10, 12, 18, and 25 year old, there are also special bottlings from single casks. These are bottles which come from a single cask from a specific year. These can be somewhat hit and miss, but when they get it spot on and you get a whisky from a great year, you’ll be blown away. In keeping with tradition, they even have a cooperage on site.
The distillery did not get off to the best of starts as, shortly after it was built in 1878, roughly two decades later it suffered a catastrophic fire in 1897, which caused extensive damage. The drama didn’t end there however, as in 1903 it suffered the after-effects of a very large on-site explosion (remember, over-proof whisky is incredibly flammable).
Surely that was it for their bad luck, but nope, you know what they say about bad luck coming in threes. Well, it certainly did for the Glenrothes Distillery, as in 1922 their second warehouse caught fire and the distillery lost close to 1,000,000 litres of spirit.
In 1962 another, much smaller fire, resulted in the distillery undergoing expansion works and it soon re-opened bigger, and better, than ever before.
With 5 wash stills, 5 spirit stills, and a 5,200,000 litre spirit capacity, the distillery is thriving which is why independent bottler such as Spiritfilled, are always keen to source whisky from this fantastic facility.
Having won a number of prestigious awards, this 15 Year Old Whisky from Spiritfilled is sourced from The Glenrothes Distillery, so you know it’s going to be something very special.
With a stunning navy blue and gold label, this whisky is a first-fill sherry butt, which means since its first filling it has lived in the same cask for a decade and a half. The influence from the sherry is evident from the onset, as the whisky has an amazing golden walnut colour.
Limited to just 588 bottles, and non-chilled, this is a whisky you can sip on in front of a roaring fire as you warm your cockles after a particularly strenuous day. At 55% ABV, this non-chill filtered treat has the “burn” that seasoned single-malt fans can’t get enough of.
Best enjoyed at room temperature this wee dram works incredibly well with haggis, steak, lamb, cheese, and dark chocolate desserts.
On the nose you should pick up sticky marmalade, bitter oranges, apricots, and toasted Brazil nuts. These should give way to aromas of vanilla, lemon mousse, oak, and malted milk drink.
On the palate the apricot notes should shine through again, coupled with fresh lemon drizzle cake, Seville orange marmalade, toasted oak, spiced ginger nut biscuits, and sticky mixed berry compote. There is the tiniest hint of smoke lingering in the background.
The finish is dry and tangy, giving way to much smoother and softer notes of vanilla, malt, charred oak, and candied orange peel. Pure heaven in a glass!
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