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Always Be Clinking: The Glenrothes Scotch Whisky Soleo Collection Is for Closers

The Glenrothes, a single malt whisky that also claims a home in blended favorites like Cutty Sark, is saying out with the old and in with some new expressions. The Soleo Collection features five Scotch whiskies aged in oak casks previously used for sherry, replacing their previous offerings.

A Scotch staple in the Speyside region of Scotland where sherry casks are de rigueur, The Glenrothes distillery is no stranger to shaking things up. In 1993, they went from traditional age distinctions to vintages — noting only the year of distillation —  for their line of whiskies. Now, the Soleo Collection takes over for their Vintage and Reserve expressions, returning to the industry standard of age labeling.

In another nod to the past, the collection takes its name from the traditional sun-drying process for sherry grapes. In a nod to the future, the collection’s bottle labels also feature tasting notes to help imbibers who are new to the brand. These first five whiskies won’t be the last you hear from the Soleo Collection; new expressions are on the horizon. A limited Halloween edition whisky, aged an appropriate 13 years, sold out quickly after it hit shelves. Here’s a look at the rest of the collection:

The Glenrothes Soleo Collection

  • 10 Years Old: The most affordable bottle in the collection, this subtler single malt clocks in at 40 percent alcohol by volume and retails for $45.
  • 12 Years Old: This is The Glenrothes in a bottle — a perfect introduction to the distillery at a cool $55. It also has a 40 percent ABV, shining with notes of vanilla, melon, and cinnamon.
  • Whisky Maker’s Cut: Intentionally bottled to put some hair on your chest, Master Whisky Maker Gordon Motion crafts this potent 48.8 percent ABV batch. He only uses first-fill sherry-seasoned casks to produce notes of vanilla, orange peel, and nutmeg for $75.
  • 18 Years Old: Slightly back down on Earth at 43 percent ABV, this complex expression could head off to college with a flavor CV featuring vanilla, pear, and fresh ginger. Just like higher education, it will cost a pretty penny or rather 13,000 pretty pennies ($130).
  • 25 Years Old: This Scotch is a winner, literally. The intense woody whisky was awarded the Chairman’s Trophy Award for Best Speyside Single Malt at the 2018 Ultimate Spirits Competition. At a smooth 43 percent ABV, coriander seeds add to its character along with mango and salted caramel. How much for this penthouse party in your mouth? Just $500.
J. Fergus
Former Digital Trends Contributor
J. loves writing about the vices of life — decadent food, strong drinks, potent cannabis, and increasingly invasive…
What is a gruit, and where can you find one?
Gruit, the beer made without hops that you need to try
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Most beers you know and love today have four primary ingredients: water, barley, hops, and yeast. That’s largely due to the centuries-old German beer purity law, or reinheitsgebot, which demanded that beer be made exclusively using these ingredients and set the standard for today’s brews. 
But beer is an ancient beverage — historians believe its story stretches back to 5th millennium BC in Iran and went on to be enjoyed by the likes of Egyptian pharaohs and the Greek philosophers. However, if Socrates or Tutankhamun ever enjoyed a pint in their days, the beer was likely missing one of those four critical ingredients: the hop.
In today’s hop-hungry climate of India pale ales (and hazy IPAs, New England IPAs, as well as milkshake IPAs, and others), it seems impossible that beer could exist without hops. The fact is that many other natural ingredients can serve as substitutes for the bittering, aromatic, and flavoring characteristics of hops. Today, if a beer relies on other herbs to fill the "hops" role, the beverage is classified as a gruit.

Gruit is the German word for herb. Instead of depending on hops, these brews use exotic additives like bog myrtle, horehound, elderflowers, and yarrow to offset the sweetness of the malts and create a more complex beverage.
Thanks to the creativity of modern breweries, you don’t have to travel back to the Middle Ages to find a gruit (though if you can, please let us in on your time travel technology). You can try them right now, but you will have to do some detective work.
“Authentic” gruits can be tough to find in the mainstream marketplace. That’s because some laws require hops to be present for a product to be sold as beer. Not having the “beer” title would limit distribution and sales channels for some breweries.  To illustrate how rare gruits are in the current marketplace, there are currently 32,576 American IPAs listed on the Beer Advocate database and only 380 gruits.
But don’t despair — this list will help you get started on the path toward discovering modern versions of the ancient ale. Start your gruit journey here:

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