Rosebank 21 year old 1990 (Diageo Special Releases 2011), 53.8%
Single Malt Scotch | $261.00
2011 saw the first expression of Rosebank appear in Diageo’s annual Special Releases series, and just 5,604 bottles are available worldwide. The bottling is comprised of whisky matured in refill American oak and refill European oak casks. Floral and mildly herbal on the nose, with cereal and tropical fruit notes, along with a hint of damp soil. The palate is somewhat tart, with oranges and pepper, while the finish dries to coffee and spicy oak. A lovely example of a much-mourned malt.
Douglas Laing Directors’ Cut (distilled at Rosebank) 21 year old cask #10146, 53.8%
Single Malt Scotch | $676
This example of Rosebank was distilled in March 1992, a year before the distillery’s closure, and bottled in December 2013. The cask yielded 141 bottles. The nose is light and mildly floral, with ripe pears, honey, and vanilla. Firm and fruity on the surprisingly full palate, with a sprinkling of white pepper, plus summer berries and caramel. Tropical fruit, soft spices, and benign oak in the finish, with a final flourish of licorice. £400
Rosebank 1992 21 year old (Diageo Special Release 2014), 55.3%
Single Malt Scotch | $500
Distilled in 1992, a year before Rosebank fell silent, this 21 year old expression was matured in refill American oak casks. 4,530 bottles have been released. The fragrant nose yields milk chocolate, peaches, apricots, nutmeg, and toffee bonbons. Spicy and mildly herbal on the palate, with icing sugar and a suggestion of dark chocolate. The finish is medium in length, fruity, with gentle spice, coffee, and developing oaky dryness.
Chieftain’s Choice (distilled at Rosebank) 20 year old, 54%
Single Malt Scotch | $170.00
This refill sherry butt-matured, cask strength variant of the Lowland classic Rosebank was distilled in December 1990. Floral and fruity on the nose. Sweet, with malt and black cherries, plus a hint of new leather. Quite viscous in the mouth; nutmeg, dark chocolate, and toffee on the palate. Walnuts and background dry sherry. The finish offers gentle oak and lots of spice.
Signatory (distilled at Rosebank), 14 year old, 1991 vintage, cask #4755, 43%
Single Malt Scotch | $60.00
Delicately floral (lavender, rose) and perfumed, with notes of chamomile, hay, soft vanilla and gentle malt. Creamy and soothing, with a gently dry finish. Lots of depth for a lighter weight whisky. A lovely aperitif. I feel Rosebank is freshest and best when it is young. With the distillery closing in 1993, now’s the time to act, and this is one of the better bottlings I’ve tasted.
Signatory (distilled at Rosebank), 12 year old, 1991 Vintage, 43%
Single Malt Scotch | $53.00
A gentle, pleasant dram. Quite floral, too. Soft, creamy vanilla foundation with a hint of marshmallow. Underlying notes of cut grass and linseed oil add texture and intrigue. Rosebank is a classic Lowlander and, given that the distillery closed in 1993, younger expressions will become more difficult to find (not to mention more expensive). Here’s a good whisky at a fair price.
Douglas Laing Old Malt Cask (distilled at Rosebank) 21 year old, 50%
Single Malt Scotch | $212.00
The Glasgow-based independent bottler Douglas Laing & Co. Ltd. has been responsible for quite a number of releases from the ‘lost’ Lowland distillery of Rosebank, and this one was distilled during January 1990 and bottled in April 2012. The nose is pleasingly floral and fragrant, light and gently honeyed, with a suggestion of barley in the background. The palate features spicy, sweet orange, herbs, and a slightly contrasting note of citrus fruit. Spices persist into the warming, lightly-oaked finish. £135
Gordon & MacPhail (distilled at Rosebank) 1989 Vintage, 10 year old, 40%
Single Malt Scotch | $50.00
Straw gold color. A very aromatic whisky, with dry, delicate herbal, floral notes. Light and soft in body. Gentle on the palate-delicately sweet and fruity up front, then becoming dry with herbal, spice notes.
Murray McDavid (distilled at Rosebank) 1992, 10 year old, 46%
Single Malt Scotch | $150.00
Pale gold color. Aromatic, floral, herbal aromas (a veritable potpourri), with soft background vanilla malt notes and a hint of lemon. Light and soft in body. Soft, malty vanilla notes on the palate with interwoven notes of herbs, subtle dried fruit, and delicate wood resins. Gently dry finish.
Signatory (distilled at Rosebank), 15 year old, 1990 vintage, Cask # 1509, 56.6%
Single Malt Scotch | $100.00
The distillery closed in 1993. Very fragrant, with a potpourri of dried spice, herbs, and (to a lesser degree) flowers on the nose and palate. The spices are accentuated by mint tea, fennel, clove, and faint vegetal notes. Dry, spicy finish. Not an elegant Rosebank, but rather, this is Rosebank with an attitude.
Gordon & MacPhail Single Cask #1535 (distilled at Rosebank) 1991 Vintage, 59.2% ABV
Single Malt Scotch | $80.00
A very traditional Rosebank-aged in a refill hogshead and bottled fairly young (12 years old). Rosebank is one of the better, yet lesser known Lowland single malts. Since the distillery was closed down in 1993, it will continue being unfamiliar to most, and finding young Rosebanks like this one will become increasingly more difficult. Here’s one at cask strength. The whisky turns very cloudy with the addition of water due to lack of chill filtering, but the additional water brings out the whisky’s subtle aromas and flavors-fresh cut grass, hay, delicate fruit, and a gentle malty sweetness. Ironically, I actually enjoyed some of the recent young G&M Rosebanks bottled at 40% ABV better than this one-their flavors were cleaner, brighter, and more refined. Still, this is a fair representation of the Lowland style.
Gordon & MacPhail (distilled at Rosebank), cask #1536, 1991 vintage, 13 year old, 59.3%
Single Malt Scotch | $100.00
Matured in a refill sherry cask. (A first-fill sherry cask would have completely dominated Rosebank’s delicate flavor profile.) With the addition of water (which is necessary), the whisky becomes quite cloudy. Rosebank’s traditional honeyed vanilla, grass/hay, and soft fruit are accentuated by lightly sherried, soft toffee flavors. An interesting whisky, but the flavors are not clean and well-defined enough to warrant a higher rating.