Review: Rosebank Flora and Fauna 12 year old


We're kicking off a trio of Rosebank reviews over the coming weeks from the classic Lowland distillery. Enthusiasts still scratch their head when trying to fathom why Diageo closed Rosebank in favour of the bland Glenkinchie. You have to seperate the whisky from the decision as whilst clearly better, the site at Rosebank was difficult to access and the Lowland jewel paid the ultimate price.

Until recently Lowland distilleries were a dying breed with Rosebank and Linlithgow fading into the history books and whisky collections. That left Glenkinchie to pick up annual awards in various magazines simply because there was no competition. Yes, Bladnoch exists but has been in limbo in recent times and has only just received a new owner. I'm a huge fan of Bladnoch especially those sherry casks they used to bottle but the distillery just went about its own business quietly. Whereas Daftmill makes MI5 look like a public library.

Now of course the Lowlanders are fighting back with Eden Mill and Kingsbarns in Fife and the Annandale distillery in Dumfriesshire. So this is a fantastic development and hopefully over time they can fill the void that exists in the whisky region map.

Recently I've been on the odd jaunt with Linh who is the Whisky Anorach from California, enjoying an epic adventure all around whisky. You can check out some of her pictures right here and we had a Rosebank day in July. This meant meeting up with Scott who has the largest collection of whiskies from the distillery I've ever seen, before visiting what remains of Rosebank. To top it all off we had a trio of Rosebanks hence the picture above.

It was a fantastic day with a great host and as much as I dislike that term 'whiskyfabric', its all about treating others how you would want to be treated yourself. Whisky crosses divides and breaks down barriers we often rely on during everyday routines. Such behaviour doesn't require a label it should be the norm. Unfortunately I was driving later that day so I had to take some samples of the Rosebanks hence this trilogy of reviews.

Distillery: Rosebank
Distilled: unknown but Scott said going by the batch this was 1990
Bottled: 12 years of age
Strength: 43% vol
Auction prices: circa £150 currently

Colour: green pineapple chunks

Nose: a very light summery dram not the fruit powerhouse I've come to associate with Rosebank. Yes, some fruit is present with peaches, pineapple, lemon and cranberries but it's very muted. There's a tablet and fudge centre with a floral orchid atmosphere.

Taste: the shyness continues but persistence detects barley drops, sherbet and a pineapple tart with the mixture of cream and pastry coming through. It offers a blend experience with a grain like feel to the journey.

Not a great Rosebank. During our tasting this was the least favourite of the trio and having tasted it for myself now, I can appreciate why. Once you've tried the best Rosebank has to offer - such as this George Strachan bottling - this just won't do.

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