Rosebank 1991 14 Years Old (Van Wees)
I’m sure that by now you’ve heard the closed Rosebank Distillery will be revived. If it wasn’t for the news that broke the day before, about Port Ellen and Brora also re-opening, it would’ve been the whisky news of the new millennium.
Now I’m not one to go off on rants, as so many other people have done since the news broke. What I will say is this: it will basically impossible to recreate Rosebank exactly the way it was. But you know what? That’s fine by me.
Like Benromach after the Gordon & MacPhail takeover, the new Rosebank will essentially be a new distillery, but with a familiar name. What matters is, will the new Rosebank whisky be any good? When they finally release their first bottling, I will try to judge it on its own merit, and try not to compare it to what Rosebank used to be.
Anyway, sorry for the slightly long intro. The reason I’m writing about Rosebank is because I actually have one to review. At 14 years old it is a young-ish Rosebank that has matured (from the looks of it) in a fairly inactive cask. That means room for that triple distilled spirit to shine.
It was bottled by Dutch indie bottler Van Wees, meaning there is a 99 percent chance that this cask actually originated from the vast stocks of Signatory Vintage. This review is based on a dram from my own bottle, which believe it or not, I bought for roughly 65 euro earlier this year.
Rosebank 1991 14 Years Old (46%, Van Wees, C#4766)
Nose: Sweet and sugary porridge, but also rose water, a whiff of burlap and wet cardboard. Plenty flowery, accompanied by a fair amount of freshly cut grass and lemon zest.
Taste: Pretty neutral. As far as whisky goes of course, it’s 100 times more flavoursome than your average vodka 😉 Cactus sap, bitter lemons, lemon grass, limes, dried grass. You get the gist. I believe its abv of 46 percent is perfectly fine in this case, as I suspect it might become more spicy/peppery at a lower strength.
Finish: A hint of white chocolate, but mostly straw and hay. Medium in length.
A perfectly nice whisky. Light and easy to consume, but not exactly boring. Is it the best old Rosebank has to offer? No. But it does give you a pretty good impression of that light, floral spirit.
Thijs is a spirits writer and accredited liquorist from The Netherlands. He runs the blog Words of Whisky and contributes to a number of Dutch and international publications.