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Scotch Whisky Legends: Glenrothes 1957 22 Year Old Cadenhead Dumpy

Edrington-owned Glenrothes Distillery in Speyside is going premium. If you visit The Glenrothes website you will be greeted by a stunning video of the new Philos in action. In addition to this, the brand’s core range now consists only of whiskies aged over 18 years. Namely, an 18 year old, a 25 year old, and a 42 year old. 

Given that Glenrothes is, as mentioned above, owned by the same company that ‘premiumized’ The Macallan, it is fairly safe to say that this venture should prove fruitful. 

As such, if you would like to get your hands on some old and rare Glenrothes scotch whisky, now may be the time to do it. Once the brand is recognized as premium, like The Macallan, bottles of Glenrothes will become increasingly rare and expensive. 

One such bottle of Glenrothes whisky is the Glenrothes 1957 22 Year Old Cadenhead Dumpy. This scarce bottling is not only a great addition to a whisky collection (especially if you love Cadenhead Dumpies like me) but is amongst the best Glenrothes whisky ever bottled. That is, according to Serge Valentin at WhiskyFun. 

So, today on Scotch Whisky Legends (formerly WhiskyFun Legends), let’s take a look at the Glenrothes 1957 22 Year Old Cadenhead Dumpy. Perhaps you will be lucky enough to acquire one before prices inevitably skyrocket. 

If you have yet to catch up on the previous installments of Scotch Whisky Legends, where I deep dive the highest-rated scotch whiskies on WhiskyFun, you can do so here

The Glenrothes 1957 22 Year Old Cadenhead Dumpy 

The Glenrothes is going premium, which will affect the prices of old & rare bottlings such as The Glenrothes 1957 22 Year Old Cadenhead Dumpy.

Though The Glenrothes was mainly contributing to blends prior to the 1990s, it was a firm favorite of independent bottlers who praised the whisky’s weight and complexity. 

Wm. Cadenhead is one of Scotland’s oldest independent bottlers, having been founded in 1842. Amongst the most sought-after Cadenhead bottlings are the ‘dumpies’ – bottled in a brown glass, dumpy-style bottle with a black label. These bottlings offer whiskies with incredible vintages and age statements, having been bottled at a time when vintage whisky was not the norm in the industry. 

The Glenrothes 1957 22 Year Old Cadenhead Dumpy, for example, was bottled in 1979, far before vintage and age statement whisky would have its moment in the sun. The whisky was bottled from a sherry cask – a Speyside staple – in July of that year at 80 proof. 

Serge Valentin had the opportunity to sample this elusive whisky in July 2007. Here is what he had to say. 

Serge Valentin’s Tasting Notes On The Glenrothes 1957 22 Year Old Cadenhead Dumpy 

“Colour: full gold. 

Nose: a great mix of metal (aluminium pan) and fruits (oranges and tangerines). Also a little peat in the background, a little ham, apples, kiwi, apple compote. Nice hints of olive oil. Less honey than expected. Bananas, sage, chervil… Then wax and hints of cinchona. Superb whisky that keeps developing for ages. 

Mouth: fantastic attack, extremely complex right from the start. Crystallised oranges, pepper, orange honey, fruity olive oil, sweet pepper, mint syrup… Absolutely wonderful. 

Finish: quite long, compact, complex, both honeyed and slightly peppery, with just a little parsley. 93 points– Serge Valentin, WhiskyFun.com, July 2007 

The Price of The Glenrothes 1957 22 Year Old Cadenhead Dumpy At Auction 

As mentioned above, the Cadenhead Dumpies are very rare and highly sought after by whisky collectors. 

The Glenrothes 1957 22 Year Old has sold just 12 times at auction in the UK and Europe combined. The first recorded sale was at Bonham’s in March 2009 for £160. 

The most recent sale was in January 2023 for £1,300

As such, this will be a difficult bottle to get your hands on. 

Whether you plan to drink the whisky or not, there is no doubt that this whisky is a rare gem. In terms of taste, it is complex and layered, representing an old style of distillation from the Speyside distillery. In terms of scarcity, well, the results speak for themselves. 

We must also consider the probable value increase that will be seen in old, vintage bottles of Glenrothes.

The Glenrothes, whilst an old and established distillery, is not necessarily a distillery that sits at the forefront of public knowledge, nor the scotch whisky market. With Edrington investing heavily into the brand, this is likely to change. Therefore, these bottles will only become more difficult to acquire. 

Buy The Glenrothes Whisky 

Now is the time. If you would like Glenrothes whisky for drinking or collecting purposes, it is a buyer’s market out there. 

We have a great selection of Glenrothes whisky on The Whiskey Wash Shop, including this Glenrothes 8 Year Old from the 1980s. The 8 Year Old is soon to be reviewed on The Whiskey Wash by Phil Dwyer, so keep an eye out. 

A Brief History of The Glenrothes 

The Glenrothes Distillery is located in Rothes, Speyside, and was established in 1878 by James Stuart & Co. Stuart quickly went bankrupt and the distillery was officially opened in 1879 by William Grant & Sons. 

For much of its early history, the distillery contributed mainly to blends such as Cutty Sark and The Famous Grouse. The blending boom of the 1960s saw the stills increase from four to six and then eight by 1980. 

The distillery began focusing on releasing vintage whiskies in the 1990s under Berry Brothers & Rudd. This focus on vintage statements allowed the independent bottler Berry Brothers & Rudd to showcase the evolution of Glenrothes’s maturation style over the years. 

Edrington purchased the distillery in 1999 and ran it until 2010 when Berry Bros bought it back. Then, in 2017, Berry Brothers & Rudd sold The Glenrothes back to Edrington, the parent company of Macallan and Highland Park. Since then, there has been a significant shift towards premiumization, first with a packaging redesign and the Select Reserves. Now, with the introduction of high-age statements into the range. 

Beth Squires

Beth joined Mark Littler Ltd full-time in October 2020 following the completion of her university degree. Since then she has gained wide-ranging knowledge of all things whisk(e)y, and has written extensively for both company and external publications. Beth is passionate about industry innovation, marketing, and sustainability. With a particular affinity for independently bottled rare scotch, Beth is also a whisky bottle investment specialist.

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