Tag Archives: Rosebank

ROSEBANK 30 YO CHAPTER 1 TASTING NOTES

It’s not every day you have a 30yo from a closed, (although now reinvented) distillery, and certainly not one as well known as Rosebank.   So without further ado, lets dive right in.

Kirsty’s Notes

Nose:  A sweet, gentle nose, fresh ripe peaches, with soft lemon there is no sharpness with it, think hard boiled travel sweets, or more specifically the powdered sugar on them.  There is a slightly sharper note of fresh gooseberries.  Left a while longer there are hints of grilled pineapple, sticky, sweet, with sprigs of fresh mint leaves which really add a touch of freshness.   Given time to breathe and on the second nosing this becomes sweeter, inviting with a dessert note akin to just baked apple pie still warm from the oven with thick homemade shortcrust pastry,  with crisp apples grown in a back garden and picked fresh that day and topped off with lashings of thick custard with a generous dusting of nutmeg.   Right at the very background there is a more earthy note, hessian sacks or potatoes still covered in damp soil.  It takes time to develop and you have to look for it, but for me, it is unmistakable and really adds depth and balance.

Palate: On first sip, it’s all very gentle the apple pie from the palate becomes soft red apples which mingle with dessert pears.  There is a richer, deeper note and at this time the oak marches to the fore.  It’s not overpowering, but comforting, like a walk through the woods in autumn, the leaves starting to turn red, crunching underfoot, acorns starting to drop to the floor, the wind fresh and bracing.  Rich, freshy roasted coffee beans make this feel very decedent, very grown up, almost dry, but just then the peaches from the palate come through, although they feel more akin to apricots now, not fresh, but tinned with syrup and with them the pineapple, intense and sweet.  Given a little longer in the glass there is an almost musty note, like browsing an antique bookstore or boxes of antique lace.  It balances the fruit and oak notes perfectly.  Returning to the glass there are lashings of thick clotted cream the vanilla comforting and sweet.

Finish:  Gentle, soft like suede.  It coats the inside of your cheeks and tongue in a way the lightness in the glass belies.   The apples are present throughout from nose to finish, however they continuity evolve from fresh and tart on the nose to cooked and soft on the palate and red and rich on the finish. The heavier, oaky notes from the palate become clotted cream and vanilla pods with a touch of orange blossom, and the pears from the palate.  This is a long finish, there are no big surprises, but just when you think it has given all it has to offer there is just a touch of the mint found with grilled pineapple from the nose at the start.  It’s elegant and beautiful.

Conclusion:  It is no surprise to hear that 30yo Rosebanks do not come along every day, and its no lie to say I was extremely excited and a little trepidatious.  I wanted to love it, it was so full of mystery and promise, I was almost afraid to open it.  I shouldn’t have worried.  There is no denying that this a beautifully crafted whisky.  It is grown up and elegant, timeless, a real classic.  It isn’t overly complex but this is by no means a negative, in fact it is its simplicity that really shines through.  This is a gentle, subtle whisky, where no one flavour pushes itself to the fore for any length of time and no battle for supremacy.  Instead each waits its turn, appearing one by one, almost as though waiting in line to dance, and it creates the most beautiful express.

Do not think that its subtly makes it boring as it does not, those 30 years have allowed the true magic of cask and spirit to marry together and to really shine. It is also so very moreish.  It really does invite you in for another sip.  I am very reluctant to even hint at the term “session whisky” when we are talking about a 30 year old whisky, and not just any 30 year old whisky, a Rosebank and at a rather steep price tag of £1,600, but I cannot deny that this is scarily easy drinking, and I feel that if I were lucky enough to open a bottle, it would not hang around for too long.

We must however address the elephant in the room; the price.  It is undeniably pricy at £1,600, however I can understand why the price is as it is.  Whisky prices as a whole have exploded over the past couple of years and prices continue to climb.  18yo whisky, which you could up at around the £60 mark a few years ago now regularly retail at the £200 mark, this of course impacts the price of older expressions.  Now factor in that this is a whisky from a closed distillery.  Yes Rosebank is being revived and that is hugely exciting, but this is old stock, it has lived, it comes from simpler, happier times, it is history; and what price that?

Whether or not you think that history justifies the price tag, only you know.  What I do know for sure is that this is a beautiful, classic, elegant expression.  One sip is not enough, it calls you back to the glass again and again and I was sorely disappointed to find my glass empty.   I cant wait for next years’ release.

Stewart’s Notes

Nose: The first thing I notice is a lovely scent of lemons, like putting your nose in a small paper poke of lemon drop sweets. This is followed by creamy fruit, white grapes and gooseberries covered in single cream. Very light, almost floral in places and very inviting.

Palate: Wonderfully sweet, crisp, almost menthol feeling, this gives way to fruit but unlike the nose, this is more like apples that have been coated in toffee. Holding it in the mouth brings light spices, dancing on your tongue, but gently in a very pleasant way.

Finish: I would say the finish brings a freshness, like the first suck on a mint sweet, this lingers while you contemplate picking up the glass again and as you do the last hint of sweet crisp fruits dies away leaving you feeling very satisfied in the knowledge you have been drinking a special whisky.

Conclusion: I’ll be honest I’ve not had many Rosebank in my whisky drinking life and certainly not one as old as this one, so I cannot comment or compare to previous whiskies from this distillery, however what I would say is that this is a fantastic drinking whisky, it is really difficult to put the glass down as each sip positively encourages you to take another.

If you are fortunate enough to be able to purchase a bottle, then I would think it a great shame to leave it unopened on a shelf gathering dust. It may not be an every night dram but is certainly made to be drunk as it really demands tasting.

The only downside I can see is the price. Now I know that certain distilleries have a special aura around them and Rosebank is no exception, but at £1600 is it worth it? Is any whisky worth that? I suppose that is a discussion for another time and I would imagine there will be no problem in selling this, as people who can afford it will surely snap it up.

Available to purchase directly from Rosebank’s website.

ROSEBANK 30 YEAR OLD

ROSEBANK 30 YEAR OLD LAUNCH MARKS FIRST GLOBAL RELEASE UNDER IAN MACLEOD DISTILLERS

Rosebank Lowland Single Malt Scotch Whisky has today announced the first in a series of annual, limited edition, releases – a 30 Year Old 1990 vintage, bottled un-chillfiltered at 48.6% ABV. To celebrate this year’s landmark launch, the distillery is giving a select number of customers the chance to “bank” a future expression of the rare liquid.

Rosebank 30 Year Old is a hand-selected vintage, laid down in 1990, shortly before the distillery’s untimely closure in 1993. The limited-edition bottles will be marked Release One, a nod to this new chapter in Rosebank’s legacy. Each year will see a new limited-edition release, laddering up to the first “new” Rosebank spirit under Ian Macleod Distillers.

Only 4,350 bottles of Rosebank 30-Year-Old will be available to buy worldwide, making this an incredibly rare purchase and demand is expected to be high. Bottles are priced at £1,600 and available directly from Rosebank’s website.

Rosebank is also giving its fans and connoisseurs the chance to get more than just a bottle of the rare whisky. The first 200 people to scan the QR code on the neck collar of their Release One bottle will be given the opportunity to enjoy a dram of Release Two at their nearest high-end, luxury bar or whisky retailer in 2021 as well as the chance to receive an early link to purchase Release Two before the general release. (A list of participating outlets for these customers to choose from will be sent to them in early 2021.) 

Robbie Hughes, Group Distillation Manager for Ian Macleod Distillers, said: “The first global release of Rosebank 30 Year Old is a truly iconic moment for the distillery. It has matured in 62% refill sherry butts and 38% refill bourbon hogsheads for decades, patiently waiting to be awoken, and delivers layers of incredible flavour that you won’t find in other whiskies.”

“What makes Release One so exciting is that we’re giving Rosebank fans the chance to join us on this monumental journey over the next decade, as we revive the iconic distillery. With a chance to “bank” exclusive access to next year’s release, we’re not only inviting them to become part of Rosebank’s legacy, but to become part of Rosebank’s family.”

Robbie Hughes, Group Distillation Manager

Ahead of its official release, Rosebank invited some of the world’s top whisky writers to enjoy the “First Sip” of Rosebank 30 Year Old, capturing their initial reactions to the bottle and whisky itself on camera. Renowned and celebrated writers including Felipe Schrieberg (USA), Alice Lascelles (UK), Mamoru Tsuchiya (Japan), Martin Eber (Australia/Hong Kong), Bernhard Schäfer (Germany), and Thijs Klaverstijn (Netherlands) feature in the short video, having received no tasting notes or samples in advance. See their reactions here.

Rosebank 30 Year Old’s launch also comes shortly after the brand released two limited edition, single cask whiskies in February (Cask No. 433 and Cask No. 625) and a Travel Retail exclusive 1990 Vintage Release in March, much to the delight of fans. Only 100 bottles of each 1993 Single Cask bottlings were made available via online ballot, with over 3,000 people entering for a chance of purchasing one of the rare bottles. The ballot was temporarily paused due to COVID-related restrictions, with the final successful entrants set to be drawn before the end of the year.

These releases come after Ian Macleod Distillers acquired the Rosebank brand and last remaining stocks in October 2017 and were granted planning permission to revive the distillery on its original site in January 2019. In November 2019, construction officially began on the highly anticipated redevelopment – with expansive plans for a 1,000-square metre, energy-efficient distillery, including a state-of-the-art visitor centre, tasting room, shop and warehouse among the canal-side buildings.

Once open, Rosebank Distillery is expected to generate 25 full time jobs and attract around 50,000 visitors a year to Falkirk. It will offer a wide range of distillery tours, with some featuring the very last drams of Rosebank distilled prior to the 1993 closure. 

ABOUT ROSEBANK 30-YEAR-OLD 

Nose: Soft and creamy with caramel wafer, gooseberry, white grape, almonds, vanilla, honey, lemon, and nutmeg 

Palate: delicate and crisp, wonderfully balanced, light syrup, chamomile, pear, and delicate tropical fruitiness with pleasing oak spice 

Finish:  soft but long, candied violets, orange, and faint mint 

ABV:  48.6%