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The history of The Glenrothes Distillery begins with the stories of two exceptional men. James Stuart, who first had the vision to build a new distillery in the town of Rothes, and the Reverend William Sharp, who raised the funds needed to save the distillery from ruin and helped to turn James Stuart’s dream into a reality.
James Stuart, born and bred in the town of Rothes, had a passion for whisky. He could see distilling offered a bright future and decided to build a new distillery in his hometown of Rothes that would be capable of making a lighter and fruitier spirit than its counterparts.
James Stuart knew whisky. He also knew that to make the finest single malts, the ingredients of wood and time would be essential. So at his distillery he would ensure that the distillation process wouldn’t be hurried to increase production. Instead it would last as long as necessary, not a moment less, to make a spirit that would contain the fruitiness capable of creating a lighter and creamier whisky. He also had the firm conviction that every cask at his estate would be carefully sourced and tended by local coopers, who would bring with them their timeless knowledge of the magic of wood. At The Glenrothes there would be no shortcuts.
He began building it in partnership with local businessmen Robert Dick and William Grant in an old mill next to the Rothes Burn. But in the summer of 1878 a financial crisis hit the country and they could no longer finance the build of the distillery. James stepped aside and left Robert and William with a dilemma over what to do next.
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