The Glenrothes 42 Is The Culmination Of Whisky Know-How, Magic And Old-Fashioned Gumption
The Glenrothes Distillery, one of the most sought-after Speyside distillers, goes back to 1878. Almost 150 years on, one would surmise that you learn a little something about the universe. The result of all that tradition is that in 2018, The Glenrothes 25 Year Old was awarded the Ultimate Spirits Challenge top honour, the Chairman’s Trophy for Best Speyside Single Malt.
I raise this fact to highlight that in the contemporary media cycle, we are more used to stories about someone’s rise to acclaim rather than a methodical path through nigh insurmountable odds. After all, the distillery has caught fire more than once – when you’re working with overproof whisky, it’s essentially a powder keg.
Extension works on the distiller began in 1896 as they added a second malt kiln, but before the work was finished, a fire broke out, causing serious damage. Barely six years later, The Glenrothes suffered an explosion. In 1922, yet another fire, this time in Warehouse Number One, caused the loss of 910,000 litres of whisky and once again in 1962 – never mind that they were an Insurer’s nightmare.
One can scarcely imagine the dreams of Master Distillers going up in literal flames: everything in from multidimensional single malts with a spectrum of flavours, ranging from the bright and fruity 12 Year Olds to the rich and sophisticated 25 Year Old. And given an industry which works in time frames that long, what would it take to endure and recover from this series of unfortunate events to birth something as luminary as The Glenrothes 42? The answer to life? Gumption.
“PART SCIENCE, PART ALCHEMY AND A LITTLE BIT OF MAGIC, THE RESULT IS A BEAUTIFULLY
ELEGANT WHISKY THAT TRULY ALLOWS THE BRIGHT AND VIBRANT CHARACTER OF THE GLENROTHES TO SING.”– LAURA RAMPLING, MASTER WHISKY MAKER AT THE GLENROTHES
Indeed, located in the town of Rothes in the heart of Speyside, the Burn of Rothes is home to a heck of a lot of gumption. The 42 is the first of its age to be released by The Glenrothes. With distinctive aromas of sun-ripened apricots, sugared almonds, orange peel and coriander seed, The 42 delivers creamy vanilla, honeycomb and fragrant orange oil on the palate, with a lingering aromatic finish; the spirit is a union of hand-selected casks of single malt that have matured for more than four decades on The Glenrothes Estate.
“We’ve always sought to progress and build upon what we do,” says Laura Rampling, Master Whisky Maker at The Glenrothes. Indeed, as one of the few distilleries to have its own source of water for production, processing and spirit reduction right on the estate, they continue to maintain their own in-house cooperage – a rarity today but an important feature that allows The Glenrothes to control every aspect of production.
For The 42, Rampling selected the spirit from just four casks that she judged to have reached a pinnacle of flavour, producing a liquid which reflects the changing colours of the Rothes landscape and shines through in the vibrant flavour profile of the whisky. On the nose, an intense aroma of tropical fruits like mango and passionfruit, accented with the sweetness of marmalade and sherry, all upon a foundation of hazelnuts.
Pass the lips, treacle toffee followed by tangerines and dried peaches, augmented with earthy flavours like almonds, coriander seed and cedar. A lingering taste of caramelised sugars, cream and spices completes your experience of The 42 with an overall freshness demonstrating just how well it develops over long decades in oak.
“This 42-year-old whisky epitomises the character of The Glenrothes distillery,” says Rampling. “These four casks have taken our spirit on a journey of maturation over more than four decades, refining the original delicate and fruity character of our new make spirit without overpowering it.
Part science, part alchemy and a little bit of magic, the result is a beautifully elegant whisky that truly allows the bright and vibrant character of The Glenrothes to sing.” As this distinctive Speyside whisky has always been in great demand, precious few examples from that era remain intact.
For those lucky enough to own one of the 1,134 bottles available worldwide, the 42 Year Old offers a rare chance to experience Glenrothes at this level of maturity. According to Brand Director Kerr Arthur, “The Glenrothes 42 captures a true moment in time that celebrates generations of excellence, honours patience and evokes the vitality of Rothes.”
(Images: The Glenrothes)