Well I went through the Rosebank gauntlet a couple of months ago but here I am again with another Rosebank. Last time through I gave my impressions of the Gordon and Macphail 18 year old and mentioned that it had replaced the now extinct 16 year old. Well, leave it up to my Rosebank fiend buddy Derek to find a bottle of the old 16.
Distilled in 1991
Aged in oak casks for 16 years
Color: Light gold.
Nose: Green apples, basket of light fruits and the distinctive floral tones, hints of spice, straw.
Palate: Very clean, heather, apples, nice malt background, soft at the start with some firm punch at the end.
Finish: Medium, faint cinnamon.
Comments: Nicely balanced, very drinkable. Another nice easy going but flavorful Rosebank. I forgot to snap a picture of the bottle, but will update this post when I do.
Well I figured I better get this last post of my Rosebank tasting in before I ventured into other whiskies. Please excuse the long delay in posting this from Part IV. I was really looking forward to tasting this expression as I have enjoyed almost every Signatory Cask Strength Collection that I have had – including Highland Park, Dallas Dhu, Brora and Monnochmore.
Distilled June 22, 1990
Bottled February 20, 2006
Color – Light Straw
Nose – Very subdued for 56.6%, doughy, baked goods sweetness, malty, pears, “springy”
Palate – Big malt, sweet, alcohol up front, some oak is in there but not much else, didn’t take on as much flavor as I expected, a dead cask?
Finish – Alcohol, oak, total lack in depth of flavor.
Man, was this a disappointment. There really wasn’t much to this at all. I had really high hopes for this Rosebank but it utterly failed. I have heard that can happen sometimes with Rosebanks. Time to go dig out another Signatory Cask Strength Collection bottle to make up for this……….
Continuing into the realm of the cask strength bottlings of Rosebank we found ourselves pouring the Single Malt Whisky Society’s (SMWS) 25.51. The actual name that SMWS decided to give this bottle of Rosebank is a treasure trove of material for anyone looking to engage in some sophomoric humor: “Cherry Lips and Bitter Nuts.” I will just leave it at that.
My experiences with SMWS bottlings have been great – from ash and coal Islay’s to other heathery soft Lowlands. So I was really looking forward to trying this one.
18 Years Old
Refill Bourbon Casks
Color – Champagne/light yellow
Nose – BAM! Bourbon! Tobacco and um…more bourbon, apple cider, dark fruits, grain, a little bit of a “highland-y” nose
Palate – Dry oak, cherries, cola, huge bourbon influence with the tobacco and dark spices, there might be trace amounts of heather in there but I think it was just my mind telling me that there should be.
Finish – Cola on the way out, chewy almost syrupy, and that bourbon is still hanging around
I think there was originally some Rosebank in there – it just got completely obliterated by the bourbon. Not a good one if you are looking to actually taste some of the traditional Rosebank flavors.
Gordon and Macphail Cask Strength
Yes, another 1991 Rosebank. However this time it is only 13 years old. Up until now we were leisurely sipping on 43%ABV whisky – this bottle initiated the cask strength invasion on our palates.
Distilled on April 25, 1991
Bottled on December 7, 2004
Refill Sherry Hogshead (Cask #1536)
Color – 14K gold, orange/yellow
Nose – Toffee, green/vegetables?, stiff jab of alcohol burn – definitely tell it is cask strength, a soft hint of smoke, very lively.
Palate – Viscous and chewy, natural malty sweetness, big and bold!, heather, licorice or fennel seed, the smoke is in the background too.
Finish – Alcohol heat lingers, heather.
This one is a challenge, big bold flavors – not your subtle docile Rosebank. This one fights back. I am really happy that the sherry influence stayed in the back and didn’t overpower. I really enjoyed this one a lot – probably my favorite of the lot.
Gordon and Macphail Rosebank
This is the replacement for the former 16 year old Rosebank – I had it but failed to take any notes on it. We felt that this would be a good follow up after the Signatory Vintage bottling because the other three were bottled at cask strength. The one odd thing about the labeling is that the front label states it is bottled at 46% but the label on the back states 43%. I thought it felt like 46% but snooping around the internet it appears that 43% is the true value.
Color – Light yellow
Nose – Sugar cookie sweetness, bread dough, heather
Palate – Oak-dryness, the flowers make themselves present, subtle sweetness, big up front but fades away rather quickly
Finish – floral, malty and doughy.
This is another relaxing dram. Something to sit back and enjoy. It is not going to over power you or make you work hard for it.
This will be the first of a series of 5 posts on the silent distillery Rosebank. Rosebank was a lowland distillery that was mothballed in 1993 and is usually known for subtle floral notes. They tend to be lighter and more delicate. It is on the other end of the spectrum from Islay malts. My buddy Derek is a Rosebank fiend – he buys bottles as fast as he can find them. I originally rolled over to his house this week to grab dinner but it turned into an in-prompt-to Rosebank tasting. We lined them up in the order we thought would flow best. The first one in line was a 15 year old Signatory Vintage Collection.
Signatory Vintage Collection Rosebank
Distilled November 27, 1991
Bottled November 27, 2006
Cask Number 4767 (Bourbon)
Color – White wine
Nose – Lots of malt, light powdered sugar, the distinct floral notes, a touch of the bourbon cask comes through too.
Palate – Soft subtle heather, a natural sweetness, oak/bourbon forward but with the floral notes in the background, some bitterness too.
Finish – Oak, a slight wisp of smoke.
This expression exemplifies a good Rosebank. Subtle but at the same time full of flavor. I really liked this one.