Chris KelleyThe Drink: The Glenrothes Select Reserve Speyside Single Malt Scotch Whiskey

The Comic: Avengers Undercover #1 published by Marvel Comics

The Drink
The Glenrothes Distillery is located in the Speyside region in Rothes, Scotland. It was built in 1878 by James Stuart who had partnered with bankers John Cruickshank, William Grant and Robert Dick. Not long after, Stuart left the distillery due to financial problems, but the rest of them carried on and opened the distillery on December 28th, 1879. Word of the whiskey’s quality soon spread throughout the whiskey industry and became highly sought after by Master Blenders. Due to it’s rich flavor, it was a perfect choice to use in blended scotches. It can be found in Cutty Sark and The Famous Grouse among other blended scotches.

In 1897 they began to expand from two stills to four stills when a massive fire broke out. Some say it was due to over-proof whiskey which is extremely flammable, but no one knows for sure. They seized this as an opportunity to rebuild and expand to the desired four stills. After the rebuild, their capacity grew from 80,000 gallons a year to 300,000 gallons a year. Tragedy struck in 1903 when the distillery suffered a massive explosion. This was the start of a series of events that would see the production of whiskey eventually stop altogether. World War I, US Prohibition and another fire which destroyed over 200,000 gallons of maturing whiskey were all major blows for the distillery. Eventually they bounced back and opened again in the autumn after Prohibition. In 1989, Barry Bros & Rudd Ltd. bought the distillery and still own it to this day.

The Glenrothes Distillery was the first in the Scotch whiskey industry to use a new method of marketing their expressions. Instead of the normal aged scotch, they use a method similar to wine and offer “vintage” scotches. For example, they offer a Vintage 1998 and the most recent expression, the Vintage 2001. Only a very small group of their vintage scotches have been released. Most of the vintages they have released are no longer available.

The expression that I tried was the Select Reserve Speyside Single Malt Scotch also referred to as the house style. To create this expression, they use a combination of different aged casks. They use Spanish oak Sherry casks and American oak casks. The color is a pale golden yellow. It has a fruity nose with hints of grapes, vanilla and a touch of oak. The palate is sweet with citrus and vanilla. It has a medium finish with a touch of smoke at the end.

I had never tried this before so I thought I’d give it a shot. I must say, I am not a very big fan. It’s a bit too sweet and too mellow for me. I like my whiskey to have a big bite and this definitely did not. A bottle costs about $40-$50. If you like sweeter, easy to drink scotches this one is for you.

The Comic
Avengers Arena was a book that I always heard people talking about, but never picked up. It wasn’t for lack of interest. It was a matter of already having so many monthly titles to read and the neverending attempt at thinning out my pull list. With the series relaunching under the title Avengers Undercover by the same creative team of writer Dennis Hopeless and Kev Walker, I decided to pick it up and see what all the fuss was about.

The issue opens with a group of teenagers discussing the events that were carried out by Arcade on Murderworld. They talk about their favorite and least favorite characters while Hazmat, a survivor of the events, listens in. She overhears one of them state her as being their least favorite. She does not take this very well and decides to confront them. The rest of the issue catches us up with the other survivors and how they are coping with everything that has happened. It shows how the characters are struggling with PTSD which is something we never see in a superhero story. The world surrounding the survivors treat their experiences as entertainment and see them as characters. They do not seem to understand how horrific and traumatizing it all was. At the end of the book, we see the survivors come together to track down Cullen Bloodstone who has set out on a mission of vengeance against Arcade.

Kev Walker does an amazing job of expressing each characters emotions. You can truly feel how they have been affected and their struggle to return to a normal life. His panel layouts and the flow of the art work perfectly. This book has a wonderful, unique look and one that I can’t wait to see more of.

I was a little worried that I’d be lost going into this, but Hopeless does a great job of catching up new readers on the very first page. I was completely enthralled with this book. I felt horrible for each and every character without even seeing what had happened to them. I love seeing something as serious as PTSD being dealt with in a superhero story. I absolutely loved this book and cannot wait to read more.

Thanks for reading,
Christopher Kelley

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Chris Kelley is Matt Baum’s cousin. We try not to hold that against him.