‘Local Vicar Makes Fund-Raising Appeal’. Nothing surprising about that, you may think. Until you know that in 1878 the Reverend William Sharp, who warned of the dangers of temptation every Sunday morning, was appealing to the burghers of the small Speyside town of Rothes for money to build a new distillery! His friend, James Stuart, had a vision to provide much needed employment by creating a distillery dedicated to local skills and raw materials. Sadly, a global financial crisis meant funding was withdrawn and Stuart had to walk away before the Reverend raised £600, enough to complete construction. On 28th December 1879, the first mellow, creamy vanilla-scented spirit flowed forth, just as Stuart had envisaged.
Today, whisky-making is just as important to Rothes, where the distillery nestles beside the Burn of Rothes, hidden in the eponymous glen at the edge of the town.
The 2004 vintage, bottled in 2018, is thought to be the last of the brand’s vintage bottling. Today, Genrothes concentrates on its age-statement malts at 10,12,18 and 25 years. In an unspoken tribute to James Stuart, the whisky has very much the same character as the original; a slower than usual distillation process allowing for that gentleness and palate-friendly taste he was seeking.