Glenrothes distillery is located in the Speyside town of Rothes, Morayshire and was founded in 1879 by a partnership that soon evolved into William Grant & Co. This is not the same William Grant of Glenfiddich fame!

In 1887 they merged with Islay Distillery Co. to form The Highland Distillers Co. Ltd

In 1898 the number of stills was doubled from two to four.

1903 & 1922 Saw two big fires in the distillery and then in the warehouses.


The number of stills was increased to six in 1963 and then to eight in 1980 but as that didn't seem to be enough, they added two more 1989 to make a total of ten stills.

Glenrothes now has an annual capacity of 5.6 million litres of pure alcohol.

Glenrothes is now owned by the 1887 Co. Ltd which is a partnership between Highland Distillers & Edrington.

More great distillery info here, thanks to Malt Madness

My thanks to Teun van Wel for permission to copy and use the distillery picture

General whisky characteristics: Smooth, complex, rich & floral with honey and nuts





Distillery Bottlings (OB)



Glenrothes, 1978, 3.11.1978 - 7.1.2008, 43% ABV

One of 5600 bottles

Typical cost of this bottle;

(Reviewed (blind) as part of MMA 2012)


Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Dark liquid gold.

Nose: Fresh exotic fruitiness with a faint suggestion of aniseed. Yes, delightfully exotic.

Palate: All that exotic fruitiness from the nose wrapped in a light leafiness and served on a bed of vanilla sauce. Very nice.

Finish: Long, gentle and repeating.

Overall Impression: Gentle and creamy, yet exotically fruity. Very 'clean' and honest, very good too. I love it.




Glenrothes, 1995, 26.10.1995 - 2011, 43% ABV

Typical cost of this bottle;

(Reviewed (blind) as part of MMA 2012)


Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Golden yellow

Nose: Strange; scorched electrical wiring? Toasted even. Slightly musty. The sense of scorched / toasted wiring fades to leave a musty grassiness.

Palate: Creamy and grassy alongside the flavours of honeydew melon and vanilla ice cream.

Finish: Short to medium.

Overall Impression: A most enjoyable palate but the whisky is let down overall by the nose.






Independent Bottlers





Adelphi Glenrothes, 42y, 1969-2012, 42.6% ABV

Cask No.2, one of 297 bottles

Typical cost of this bottle;


Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Mahogany in my glass, does it stain?

Nose: Lots of aromatic toasted oakiness on the nose with hints of amaretto and some smoky woodiness in the background. Nice, very nice.

Palate: The palate initially abounds with creamy cherries, expanding to plums or damsons marinated in rich red wine. The overall effect is rich and deep, but very dry.

Finish: Very long and slightly dry.

Overall Impression: I generally tend to like Glenrothes at 17y or above and this is no exception as it's a very good whisky with lots of rich character and even a light smokiness. The only slight negative is the dryness, but it's still quite excellent.





Douglas Laing


D. Laing 'Old Malt Cask', Glenrothes, 19y, 1986, 50% ABV

Typical cost of this bottle;


Nose: very soft and creamy with hints of nuts

Palate: Wonderfully smooth. Warm and luxurious on the tongue with cream and gentle nuts.

Overall Impression: I do normally like Glenrothes and I tend to prefer ones over 17y. This 19y did not disappoint! By far the best dram of the evening, pure luxury in a glass and a very worthy dram to be the first in my new Spiegelau glasses presented to me last night.



D. Laing 'Old Malt Cask', Glenrothes, 27y, 50% ABV

Typical cost of this bottle;

The photo shows the typical OMC presentation and is not this 27y Glenrothes


Nose: Distinct hints of vinegar! (what went wrong here?)

Palate: Absolutely no evidence of the vinegar from the nose, just very long, very smooth, lots of sherry and honeyed nuts in the background.

Overall Impression: A very enjoyable dram to drink, but what happened with that nose?





D. Laing, Glenrothes / Ardbeg "Double Barrel" 10y, 46% ABV

Is it Glenrothes, is it Ardbeg?

Typical cost of this bottle;

"Dram-atics" live review


Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Yellow gold (9ct)

Nose: Gentle smooth peat and quite maritime with salty, sea-air

Palate: Very smooth and malty but only very light peat

Finish: Again very smooth, very long and malty with only traces of peat

Overall Impression: The nose definitely tends toward Ardbeg whereas the palate is much more Glenrothes. Is it an Ardbeg? Is it a Glenrothes? Maybe? Individually, both of these are excellent whiskies, but together? Not really. This whisky can't decide what it wants to be and as a result I find it rather confusing and disjointed.





Gordon & MacPhail


G&M, Glenrothes, 59.5% ABV

Original cost of this bottle;


Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Oak

Nose: Initial suggestion of musty bitter fruitiness. Yes very musty (or dusty) with hints of dry woodiness. After some minutes the mustiness fades and the whole thing becomes more fruity in a quite fresh and bitter way.

Palate: Very smooth and silky mouth-feel but yet very lively or should I say alive with a fruity black pepperiness. I'm thinking dark fruits like plum, damson or bramble. Thick, rich and fruity.

Finish: Extremely long and rickly fruity with those dark fruits.

Overall Impression: A quite normal or even subdued nose is followed by a palate stunningly alive with rich fruitiness.





Jack Wieber



JWWW "Castles", Glenrothes, 24y, 1984-2008, 46% ABV

Cask 2617, one of 150 bottles

Typical cost of this bottle;


Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Very pale, almost water

Nose: Slightly musty leafy hay with the faintest hint of perfume in the background. The leafiness and hay over-ride which makes this rather like a hay loft.

Palate: Leafy, spirity hay, that's it really.

Finish: Long, too long.

Overall Impression: Glenrothes is one of my favourite distilleries and I especially tend to like expressions at 17y and over. Sadly not this time.




JWWW "Castles", Glenrothes, 24y, 1984-2008, 46% ABV

Cask 1696

Original cost of this bottle; Unknown


Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Very pale, almost watery

Nose: A warming floral woodiness gives a light but aromatic character. Not overly sweet but there's a suggestion of light fruit or sponge cake.

Palate: Definite suggestion of that sponge cake here and it's also a bit sweeter than the nose suggests. There's also that floral element in the background but it's hard to individually identify.

Finish: Very long.

Overall Impression: Light but full of character.





Other IBs




Cadenhead's, Glenrothes-Glenlivet, 17y, 53.2% ABV

Original cost of this bottle; Unknown


Glass: Spiegelau

Colour: Extremely pale yellow

Nose: An unusual combination of aromas here including dry leafiness, hay, a suggestion of honey but not sweet and old leather bound books.

Palate: There's a warming mild pepperiness as it spreads across the palate leaving a leafy fruitiness reminding me of apple or perhaps maracuja. The palate is also a little sweeter than the nose.

Finish: Long, creamy, leafy.

Overall Impression: This is a mild and inoffensive but interesting whisky. I was initially a little unsure but the more I tried it the more it grew on me. A light summer-time whisky.





Chieftain's, Glenrothes, 10y, 1992-2003, 46% ABV

Casks 90121-3

Typical cost of this bottle;


Glass: Spiegelau

Colour: Dark gold

Nose: Initially faint nuts, very slowly expanding to being less faint and opening to include hints of butterscotch.

Palate: Smooth, perfumed butterscotch and very light toffee.

Finish: It seems to fade quickly, then comes back for a second attempt. Medium to long.

Overall Impression: This has the promise of a very good dram, it is good, but I still feel it should be allowed to mature for a few more years. It has no unpleasant youthful spiciness, it is just a little faint yet.





Cooper's Choice, Glenrothes, 18y, 1996-2014, 52.5% ABV

Cask 0545 (Sherry Finish)

Original cost of this bottle; Unknown


Glass: Spiegelau

Colour: Yellow gold

Nose: Lots of sweetness and fruitiness which reminds me of a childhood sweet shop, candy floss and a hint of ginger.

Palate: It's alive with sweet shop memories, especially those little chewy fruit salad sweets I used to love. The specific fruitiness is hard to place other than from those sweets although it also reminds me of peach melba ice cream. Alongside all of the fruitiness is a distinct ginger-iness that in turn reminds me of ginger nut biscuits.

Finish: Long with lots of that ginger.

Overall Impression: Olde Worlde Sweet Shoppe and ginger nut biscuits, what's not to love?






Duncan Taylor "Octave", Glenrothes, 40y, 1970-2011, 40.6% ABV

Cask 495777

Typical cost of this bottle;

Picture is of typical "Octave" presentation


Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Bright cork

Nose: Hints of ginger and a very good balsemic vinegar. Red wine influence somewhere? A light nuttiness tro with hints of vanilla (milk shake) coming through after 2-3 minutes.

Palate: A kind of bread dough fruitiness with damson and cherry, maybe apricot too.

Finish: Long with that bread dough, apricot and cherry.

Overall Impression: Totally different again, but most enjoyable.





Kirsch, Glenrothes, 9y, distilled 5.7.90, bottled 15.2.2000, 43% ABV

(Kirsch is a German importer & IB)

Typical cost of this bottle;


Glass: Spiegelau

Colour: Amber

Nose: Primarily butterscotch with nuts and just a hint of very aromatic, floral paintstripper.

Palate: The butterscotch and nuts from the nose are initially evident along with a slightly spirity tingle which lingers into the finish.

With 4 drops of water in almost 2cl: The nose is weakened and loses the paintstripper, whereas the palate is livened even more and offers much more tingle.

Finish: Long and repetitive.

Overall Impression: Despite my paintstripper comment, this is an enjoyable dram with lots of flavour, albeit not so complex. This is a 9y Glenrothes and I often say I prefer the much smoother richness which this distillery tends to offer in older whiskies nearing and above 20y.





Weiser, Glenrothes, 16y, 1988, 46.2% ABV

'Vintage Cask' selection

Typical cost of this bottle;


Nose: Pungent gin (another strange nose from a Glenrothes?)

Palate: Pungent (carried over from the nose), bitter-sharp, lacking in any depth of flavour but really quite salty.

Finish: It really could do with one.

Overall Impression: I do normally like Glenrothes, what went wrong here?





Wemyss, Glenrothes, 1988-2013, 46% ABV

Labelled Ginger Spice, one of 660 bottles

Original cost of this bottle;


Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Bright yellow gold

Nose: I'm detecting rich aromas of brandy snap, caramel as in Tunnock's caramel wafers, some woodiness and an almost herbal suggestion of Armagnac.

Palate: This starts with a creamy mouth-feel and lots of suggestion of vanilla, custard, mild honey, some herbs and just the slightest hint of ginger.

Finish: Long.

Overall Impression: All very mild, perhaps a gentle giant as it does have plenty of character.






Whisky Doris Glenrothes, 24y, 4.1988 - 6-2012, 49.3% ABV

Sherry Hogshead No.7317, bottle No.29 of 288

Typical cost of this bottle;

Reviewed (blind) as part of MMA 2012


Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Rich dark gold.

Nose: Very fresh and extremely perfumed, reminding me of very perfume soap. After some minutes a sense of freshly-sawn wood develops.

Palate: Sweet and tingly (peppery), yes very sweet. This reminds of those tiny fruit salad chewy sweets I bought as a child (four for a half-penny). The woodiness from the nose also appears on the palate alongside the sweets.

With 5 drops of water: The perfumed sweetness has now gone from the nose, being replaced by a suggestion of leafy countryside. The palate remains sweet, but nearly so much as before. Much better now!

Finish: Long and sweet.

Overall Impression: The sweetness here reminds me of a whisky liqueuer. But much better with water.






Wilson & Morgan Glenrothes, 21y, 1990-2011, 60.1% ABV

Sherry Butt No.12899, bottled for Taiwan

Typical cost of this bottle;

Reviewed (blind) as part of MMA 2012


Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Dark and rich; amber with a tinge of copperiness.

Nose: Rubberiness with a suggestion of spent match. Yes, these two traits are predominant so it seems to be quite sulphury, but actually not unpleasant. Just the right level for me to like.

Palate: This explodes onto the palate with a mighty tingle, then comes a fruitiness (raisins and currants), apple crumble too. The rubberiness from the nose eventually appears on the palate, but very faintly.

Finish: Long and creamy - apple crumble.

Overall Impression: Following the sulphuriness of the nose the palate was a fruity delight. A very good whisky which I thoroughly enjoyed.








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