The Glenrothes 42 Is A Decadent Expression Four Decades In The Making
On the Northeast of Scotland, upon the banks of the River Spey, sits an unassuming town called Rothes. Rothes holds a lot of old-world Scottish charm, with most of its buildings made of stone and retaining architecture that had sat in place since the 1700s.
It is also a place of incredible natural beauty; nature’s colours are abound in Rothes, with bright summers, verdant springs, golden autumns and alabaster winters. This unassuming town is also a centre of whisky making, housing four distilleries over its noble waters.
We turn our attention to the one that sits atop the gushing clear waters of the Burn of Rothes, a tributary of the River Spey. And we turn back the clock to May 1980. Four make spirits, ennobled by the waters of the Spey and distilled ponderously, meticulously as per the standards of the Glenrothes brand, are placed into four special sherry-seasoned oak casks. They are then sealed and left to age.
Outside the distillery, the seasons change. Time marched ever forward, and with it, history. Save for the angel’s share, the make spirit continued maturing. It passed the three-year minimum period of maturation needed of any liquid to be formally recognised as a whisky.
Twelve years pass, 18 years, 21 years ‒ 30. Still the noble liquid sat in their casks. Hundreds of casks around it are taken away to be bottled. New make spirits fill the casks. These four remained.
Master Distiller Laura Rampling’s idea was that the whisky had to be aged to perfection, not convention. Every year ‒every second ‒ that the whisky took to age was essential. Then last year, in a routine inspection of the casks, the right notes reached Rampling’s highly trained nose and palate.
The 42 Had Arrived
First impressions always count, and The 42 is a master of the first impression. The polychromatic, contoured box, wrapped and closed within an aged Verdigris copper band and featuring the multicoloured striations inspired by the hues and terrain of the environs around the highland Estate.
The decanter is an elegant objet dʼexception, crafted by the artisans at world-renowned Dartington Crystal. It takes inspiration from the iconic Glenrothes Sample Room bottle, with cuts that allude to the oak staves of Glenrothes’ casks. The decanter is topped by a meticulously hand cut, elegant crystal stopper.
The liquid is also great with first impressions, brightly introducing itself to our senses with its nose of sundried apricots and burnt orange peel and hints of coriander and fresh cedar wood. The whisky is also lauded as a palate-pleaser, with richly sweet notes reminiscent of brown sugar and honeycomb as well as vanilla and toasted almond.
It is a richer, creamier liquid and this lingers on into its finish. Rampling says of the Estate’s masterpiece, “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.”
Three years ago, the distillery launched a 50-year-old expression ‒ the first of its kind and limited to 50 bottles. It was a magnificent, widely lauded whisky, and placed the Estate firmly in the consciousness of whisky lovers around the world. After
The 50, The 42 is the oldest whisky by the Glenrothes Estate. But we argue that, due to its slightly wider availability, it will make its mark on more aficionados than its elder sibling. We love a storied whisky, and Glenrothes’ The 42 ‒ all 1,134 bottles of it ‒ will boldly take its place in history.