a rare treat for single malt enthusiasts

Every year the drinks giant Diageo, releases a special set of single malts. The company now owns 30 distilleries in Scotland alone. So with that many distilleries in its possession it has quite a few casks to choose from. However, here is the thing, not all of these distilleries are in production or even exist anymore. Examples of long gone distilleries include Brora, Port Ellen, Convalmore, Banff and the much lamented Rosebank.

Rosebank was the jewel in the crown of Diageo distilleries; its whisky was so highly regarded by blenders that it was sold on allocation and customers were even charged rent for warehouse space while the whisky matured. However, all of this did not save the distillery from closure in May of 1993. The distillery closed for the simple reason of location. Diageo had released the very successful ‘Classic Malt’s of Scotland’ range which featured a distillery from every whisky producing region in the country. Glenkinchie Distillery in the lowlands had a much more picturesque setting and was far more likely to attract tourists as opposed to Rosebank, which lay right between a busy road and a long since abandoned canal. The distillery was then sold to The British Waterways Board who in turn sold the site to developers. The former warehouses were converted to apartments and parts of the distillery were demolished. There is now a pub/restaurant on the site.

Late last year Diageo released Rosebank 1990 21 year old cask strength single malt (53.8%ABV, $248.99). So just last week, I had the opportunity to purchase some for the store (only 5886 bottles released worldwide). This is the first distillery bottling of Rosebank that we have ever had on the shelf. Stock is beginning to dry up and shooting prices skywards so getting your hands on an official bottling is going to be difficult in the future. I am told that this is some of the oldest spirit that they have left. I have not tried it (if you want to share, I won’t mind!) but The Whisky Exchange in London said this about it.

‘The nose displays the classic fresh cut grass, hay and summer fruits I was hoping for, with some hints of apricot jam and a pleasant biscuity aroma like Jacob’s Fig Rolls. The palate is medium-weight, following closely to the nose but with a more honeyed emphasis. Very drinkable at full strength. Opinion in the room seemed to be split as to whether this was better with or without water – I thought it was best uncut, finding the oak turned a little cardboardy when I added a few drops of water. Nonetheless, at full strength this was a hugely enjoyable dram.’

We received just 18 bottles which is Indiana’s entire allocation. So my thinking is that this is not going to be around for too long. If you would like a bottle then please call us at the store on 317 817-9463 or you can order online for in-store pick-up.


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 Vine & Table #301