In 1868, James Stuart, a ‘corn factor’ in Rothes village on Speyside and proprietor of the Mills of Rothes, took over Macallan Distillery nearby, in partnership with Robert Dick and William Grant, and John Cruikshank. Macallan prospered and three years later they decided to build a second and larger distillery upstream from Mills of Rothes. Glenrothes prospered after this less than happy start and when it amalgamated with Bunnahabhain in 1887 it brought Highland Distillers into existence. With Robertson & Baxter as agents, Glenrothes was immediately marked out as top-class blending material, its most notable destinations being Cutty Sark and The Famous Grouse. Glen Rothes was enlarged to six stills in 1963 and to eight in 1980.
In 1989 Highland rebuild with ten stills. In 1987 Highland licensed the Glenrothes brand to Berry Brothers & Rudd, the old established London wine merchants, which also owned 50% of Cutty Sark, and they released the first ‘official’ bottling that year, at 12 years old. In 2010, Berrys sold Cutty Sark to Edrington and in 2017 Edrington bought the Glenrothes brand back from Berry Bros. in a bid to accelerate the single malt’s growth in international markets.