Glenrothes Distillery is located directly on the banks of the small river Burn of Rothes, whose waters cascade from the Mannoch mountains into the very heart of the Speyside region — that part of the Scottish Highlands, that is traditionally called the home of malt distillation. The pure spring water for Glenrothes comes from a spring in the nearby Glen of Dounie, also belonging to the distillery.
On 28 Dezember 1879 distillation began at Glenrothes begonnen and in 1896 the distillery was enlarged to satisfy the growing demand. The large fire, that erupted in 1922 ist still today part of local legend and folksong. It appears that because of the fire large amounts of mature whisky flowed into the clear Burn of Rothes and not only did the local inhabitants enjoy a drink from the «waters» but also some very drunk cows on the neighboring meadows.
Glenrothes has always selected limited quantities of the best casks of each vintage and bottled them at the height of maturation as «The Glenrothes Vintage Malt». The kind and origin of the casks used for maturing plays a more important role in its resulting taste than its age. Only casks of exceptional quality, of American or Spanish oak, are used for these vintages. While the American casks contained bourbon, the Spanisch casks come from the famous cellars of Jerez. To determine the perfect moment of maturation for these bottlings, each of the casks is continually tested and tasted during its many years in the cellar. The casks selected for vintage malts have to fulfill many criteria of quality and thus only a small selection of them are chosed to beome part of a vintage. On the other hand, not every years vintage is deemed worthy to produce a Glenrothes vintage malt. Excess fine whiskies are usually sold for the production of blends.