The Glenrothes is distilled at Glen Rothes, beside the burn of Rothes which flows from the Mannoch Hills into the River Spey at Rothes-on-Spey.
The Glen Rothes distillery was founded in 1878 and the first spirit flowed from the stills on 28th December 1879, the night of the Tay Bridge Disaster when 75 people died after the new railway bridge over the River Tay collapsed in a storm.
The stills at Glen Rothes are exact replicas of the 1879 originals and have a very large boiling ball. This encourages reflux and helps to produce the light fruity, estery spirit for which the distillery is famous.
The Glenrothes is distilled from Scottish barley malted in traditional Saladin boxes using water from two local springs - the Ardcanny and Lady’s Well - although it is reduced to bottling strength with purified municipal water. It is mainly aged in American and Spanish oak casks which have been seasoned with Oloroso sherry. Ex- bourbon casks are used but to a lesser degree.
Although Glen Rothes distils a massive five million litres of spirit a year, little more than 2% of this is bottled as a single malt. The bulk becomes a top dressing in blends such as Cutty Sark and The Famous Grouse.