Points of conversation about whisky often discuss its age or the make of its cask, but water — star of The Glenrothes’s online-exclusive Aqua Collection — plays an essential role, too.
Which explains why the best distilleries are often built near — or are supplied with — their very own trusted water source, many of which come naturally to impart its ‘terroir’ to the dram. At The Glenrothes, water is so revered as the lifeblood of the distillery that an entire collection has been dedicated to it.
Its unique location in the town of Rothes, in the heart of the Speyside region of Scotland, has enabled it access to not one or two, but five natural water sources, all of which have been integrated into its whisky-making process for over a century.
Besides soft water from Brauchhill and the Fairies Well, water from Ardcanny Springs, Burnside and Dounie Wells from the North are also used during production, as well as from The Rothes Burn, which runs through the distillery site for the cooling process.
From this online-exclusive range comes five expressions, each distinct in their own ways but all a fitting tribute to the keystone of the distillery. Like the rest, the 16 Years Old has been matured in specially selected sherry-seasoned oak casks, most of them first-fill for a full, refined and well-rounded character.
On the nose, aromas of bright citrus and oak with gentle spice set the tone for the rich sensorial experience that Glenrothes promises. A sip reveals sweet, delicious notes of vanilla, plums and cherries, before culminating with the warmth of spice and cinnamon in a long, lingering finish, making it the perfect dram for any time of the day, whether you’re having a relaxing afternoon or seeking a nightcap.
Like the 16 Years Old, the 21 Years Old opens with the delectable scent of vanilla, but accompanied by floral aromas of geranium and rose. On the palate, expect to be greeted with flavours of cloves, vanilla and cedar wood, before they round up elegantly with hints of woody spices.
The 30 Years Old, on the other hand, perfectly marries the influence of the European oak-sherry seasoned wood with fragrant notes of lychee and jasmine. Expect rich flavours of zesty fruitcake and nutmeg on the palate, with a long-lasting finish of dried fruits and spices.
The Glenrothes Aqua Collection comes packaged in the distillery’s iconic bottle, only this time with blue labels in a tribute to the very waters that have made its whiskies the resounding success they’ve come to be known over the past century.