The queen is dead. Long live the queen?
When Rosebank closed in 1993, it was not just the end of another distillery. Rosebank, The Queen of the Lowlands, was an institution. The traditional, typical triple distillation, the fresh, light body, the aromas of grass, apples and pears: For not a few whiskey connoisseurs Rosebank would have been the obvious Lowland representative in UD's "Classic Malts" series. There, however, they opted for Glenkinchie - and Rosebank closed in 1993.
Since then, lovers hope that the distillery will be revived again. But chances are bad. The buildings have been sold and now house apartments and restaurants. At the beginning of 2010, much of the old distillery equipment was also stolen. No, it does not look like a happy ending for the Queen of the Lowlands ...
A little history
The origins of Rosebank are somewhat in the fog. A distillery of this name probably already existed from 1817-1819. It did not give birth to the Rosebank distillery here. In all likelihood, it was not founded until around 1840 by James Rankine, and whiskey has been burned on the site since 1798.
Opposite Rosebank, on the other side of the Forth-Clyde Canal, was the Camelon Distillery, which Maltings leased to Rankine and used for Rosebank. Camelon was closed in 1861 and bought and demolished by RW Rankine, James' son, who now ran Rosebank, except for the malting floors.
In 1914, Rosebank, along with Clydesdale, Glenkinchie, Grange, and St. Magdalene, was one of the founding distilleries of the later so great and influential Scottish Malt Distillers (SMD).
Between 1917-1919 was not produced.
In 1968, the old (Camelon) Maltings were closed and demolished.
In 1987, United Distillers (now Diageo) acquired Rosebank and closed it in May 1993. In 2002, the buildings were sold to British Waterways, which converted them into apartments and restaurants.
What do I actually have in the glass?
Fresh & Flowery, Grass & Grain, Flower Meadow & Apple Trees - Lowland!
3 reasons to love Rosebank
1) Because at least the memory stays alive.
2) Because Rosebank Lowland is at it's best.
3) Because big love stories usually end tragically.
The one drama for the lonely island
Unfortunately, there are hardly any more Rosebanks and the few have their price. Therefore: Try every dram you can get hold of. And if it should be something very special: The rare 21-year-old original bottling is a dream.
numbers and facts
Address: Falkirk, Stirlingshire, FK1 5BW
Founded: (presumably) in 1840 by James Rankine
Status: shut down, dismantled
Owner: Diageo (license), British Waterways (building)
Capacity: formerly: about 320,000 liters
1 wash still
2 spirit stills (for triple distillation)
Water: Carron Valley Reservoir
Visitor Center: -