Although the Glenrothes distillery was founded in 1879, up until the early 1990s this characteristically silky, soft, and floral single malt was used only for some of Scotland’s finest blended whiskies, most notably Cutty Sark. But with America’s discovery of single malts, Glenrothes began bottling special vintage editions. One of the very first to make it to U.S. shores was the Glenrothes 1979, which was bottled in 1996. Then came the 1985, which was released in 1997. Interestingly, a second reserve of Glenrothes 1985 was reintroduced in 2008, and sold out within one year.
And now comes the newest vintage-dated Glenrothes, the 86-proof 1994 Single Malt, a 12-year-old expression and one of the last created by recently retired Malt Master John Ramsay. Although it has been available in Europe since 2006, the 1994 Glenrothes didn’t make it to America until the first quarter of 2010. Like its previous offerings, Glenrothes puts the distiller’s “handwritten” tasting notes on the label, and Ramsay described the 1994, priced at $79.99, as “soft ripe fruits, toffee, and lemon citrus.” The 1994 also has a bit more spice than some previous vintages, but it still remains delicate enough to serve neat or over ice as a refreshing before-dinner dram. (www.theglenrothes.com)