The Glenrothes unveils new age-statement Soleo Collection

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Drinks: Drinks
Location: Scotland

Once known for its vintages, as well as no-age-statement whiskies, The Glenrothes has revealed a new range that’s big on traditional age statements.

The move is, in part, about transparency and honesty, relating to aspects such as the lack of caramel colouring in the range, as well as abundant information about the whiskies provided via the packaging.

Beyond the age statements, the new Soleo Collection, as the name suggests, consists entirely of whiskies matured in sherry-seasoned casks. They’re presented in brightly colour-coded packaging, starting with yellow for the 10yo. In addition to age statements including 12yo, 18yo and 25yo – and a 40yo planned for next year – there’s one NAS, titled Whisky Maker’s Cut, positioned between the 12yo and 18yo.

It’s one of the highlights of the range, with a lively nose of citrus and cinnamon-dusted custard, and some dried red fruit too, leading to a chewy, substantial palate with good oak influence, and some sweetness and spice, with a nuttiness to the finish. It is matured entirely in first-fill sherry-seasoned casks.

The 10yo is a good entry point, and an excellent introductory whisky in general, with lots of fruit, from orange peel to raspberry, with some vanilla and cereal, and candied lemon peel to finish. The 12yo, considered to be the hero of the collection, brings some additional spice to the table, opening with nutmeg and a marzipan aroma, and leading to some red apple, grain and spice on the dry palate.

The 18yo enters sweet spice and cooked apple and pear territory, with some dark chocolate notes too, while the 25yo was showing some darker, richer fruit on the nose, leading to an appealing dry and woody palate, with an abundance of spice.

As well as the upcoming 40yo, there are plans to introduce exclusive single casks for certain retailers.

The overhauled range follows the reacquisition of The Glenrothes by Edrington in April 2017, from Berry Bros and Rudd who had purchased it from Edrington in 2010. The brand will still be available in the UK via Berry Bros’ import and distribution business Fields, Morris & Verdin (FMV).

‘Since Edrington reacquired it, it’s seen as a real opportunity, as well as a hidden gem,’ said Stuart Cassells, the brand’s global brand development manager at Edrington.

Cassells also discussed the decision to use age statements for the range. ‘No-age-statement has been happening for the last five to ten years, and that’s entirely right – just because it’s older doesn’t mean it’s better. But consumers get age statements, because that’s what we’ve been telling them for 30 years,’ he said. ‘If you can do age statements then why would you not?’

In keeping with the theme of honesty, the brand supported the launch with a pop-up honesty bar at TT Liquor in London, with punters asked to pay whatever they thought their drinks were worth into ‘honesty barrels’.

The Soleo Collection launches first in the UK, followed by other markets such as Taiwan and Singapore. The age statements, from 10yo, 12yo, 18yo and 25yo, have RRPs of £37, £42, £100 and £375, respectively, while the Whisky Maker’s Cut goes for £55.

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Clinton Cawood

Clinton has been writing about drinks since landing in the UK in 2006 from his native South Africa. He's partial to all things agave, and is dependent on good coffee. He's still not a morning person. Follow him on @clintc.

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