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Our History

Outline of James Stuart Founder of The Glenrothes
Like our founder, The Glenrothes has always strived to provoke the innate curiosity we all have within us.

Mr James Stuart never did things like others. And it was this visionary thinking that led him to dream up a new distillery in his hometown of Rothes. A distillery that would harness his inherent passion for single malt whisky, yet bring it alive in a way that the world had never tasted. Lighter, fruiter, creamier. And, most important of all, gloriously unhurried.
Armed with an abundance of whisky-making knowledge, the backing of two local businessmen, and a townful of local coopers whose timeless mastery of the cask couldn’t be matched, James’s ambition started to take shape – before a financial crash threw the future of The Glenrothes into crisis.

But the community in Rothes was unwavering. Locally respected Reverend William Sharp recognised the importance of the distillery to this working town, and used his power of persuasion to raise the funds needed to complete the long-anticipated building.

In 1879, the doors finally opened and the first pure spirit flowed from James’ revolutionary design. The resulting whisky was his uncompromising fusion of traditional methods and the latest advancements in technology – united by the distillery’s very own plentiful supply of crystal clear spring water – creating a single malt completely unmatched by others.
Old historical image of the Glenrothes distillery
Black & white image of the paths behind the Glenrothes distillery
To this day, the local footpath that James insisted remained open, still runs through the estate and allows the people of Rothes to enjoy their proudly hidden gem that was so tenaciously earned.