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Whiskymag 137 July _Aug 2016

Rosebank Single Malt Scotch Whisky

Lowland Distillery 1840-1993

Rosebank Scotch Whisky Distillery History

The early history of the Rosebank distillery is stated as being founded in the late 18th century. Some claims state that the distillery was founded as early as 1773 however more conservative sources date it somewhere in the 1790's.


The Rosebank Distillery of the Stark Brothers had its origin at Laurieston, however due to shortage of water. The distillery was relocated to Camelon in the 1820s  


There are conflicting dates and people James Smeaton 1773 and 1798 the Stark Brothers. Also there is a James Roberston 1817. The details are confused because of two distillery names in two maybe three locations.


John Stark operated the Camelon Distillery in 1827 to 1836.


The site of the new Rosebank Distillery was on the other side of the Forth Clyde Canal to the Camelon Distillery.


James Rankine, local wine and spirit merchant, founded the forerunner to the last distillery in the 1840's who converted the maltings of Camelon Distillery Rosebank may have operated under the name 'Cameron' for a while.


The distillery was expanded in 1845


In 1864 his son, R. W Rankine who completely rebuilt the distillery and was very successful in increasing demand for the whisky produced, followed him.


The demand from the blenders for Rosebank whisky was so high that the distillery sold the whisky on allocation and charged the customers warehouse rent while they waited. At the time Rosebank was the first distillery and only one able to do so.  


During 1894 the Rosebank Distillery Ltd was formed as a public limited company, A second share issue three years later was immediately fully subscribed.


The distillery was badly affected by the collapse of Pattison’s at the end of 1898 and the slump in trade that followed.


Rosebank was one of the founder distilleries that amalgamated to become Scottish Malt Distillers (SMD) in 1914. Which in turn became a subsidiary of DCL.


The distillery was silent from 1917 to 1919. However was one of the few distilleries to operate during WWII


In 1986 United Distillers (UD) who were part of the Guiness Group at the time acquired SMD.  Then UD merged with International Distillers and Vintners (IDV), as part of Grand Metropolitan Group, in 1998 to form United Distillers and Vintners (UDV). Which is now owned by Diageo.


Rosebank was mothballed in May 1993 and sold to the British Waterways Board in 2002.


After obtaining planning permission for a redevelopment, British Waterways Scotland sold the residential element to Westpoint Homes. Their scheme comprising flats with balconies and ground floor gardens facing the canal started on site in September 2005 after all the properties had already been sold off-plan.


The redevelopment included office space; part of the distillery building was retained and now houses a public house and restaurant.


The traditional Lowland method of triple-distillation was used at Rosebank.


Rosebank Single Malt Scotch Whisky Distillery Bottlings 

Rosebank 12 Year Old Flora &Fauna


Rosebank Single Malt Scotch Whisky Older Distillery Bottlings

Rosebank 19 Year Old 1979-60.2% Rare Malts Selection released 1998

Rosebank 20 Year Old 1979-60.3% Rare Malts Selection released 1999

Rosebank 20 Year Old 1981-62.3% Rare Malts Selection released 2002

Rosebank 22 Year Old 1981-61.1% Rare Malts Selection released 2004

Rosebank 25 Year Old 61.4% - 4710 bottles released 2007


Rosebank Single Malt Scotch Whisky 20 year old 1981 Rare Malts Selection

Colour: Green Gold.

Light meadow flower aromas, soon give way to maltiness and fresh cream sponge flavours, This is a deliciously soft, beautifully rounded malt with a clean, sweetly drying finish.


Rosebank 1989 Rare Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky 46%

Colour; Pale Gold.



On the nose; There is a flourish of fruity aromas including green apple, pineapple, strawberry and clementine's. Hints of beeswax polish and cinnamon develop and are complimented by floral notes such as fresh lavender.


Palate; A burst of aniseed and grapefruit flavours with a pinch of black pepper. Orange peel and cloves develop with a hint of oak. Creamy white chocolate builds with a sprinkling of mint.


With Water Added

On the Nose; Strawberries and green bananas with fruity sour cherries. Floral notes of heather with a touch of tobacco and white chocolate.


Palate; Grapefruit along with summer fruits create a delicate sweet and sour balance. Aniseed and tobacco flavours develop. Green apple skin and cucumber adds a fresh influence.


Finish; Long, smooth with lingering fruit flavours.  Body; Light to Medium.


Cask type;  Refill Sherry Hogsheads.


Style; A Classic Rare Lowland Malt.


Rosebank Single Malt Scotch Whisky # Independent Bottlings  


Berry’s Own Selection



Cask Strength (Gordon & MacPhail),

Chieftain’s (Ian Macleod),

Connoisseurs Choice (Gordon & MacPhail),

Coopers Choice

Dun Bheagan (Ian McLeod),

Hart Brothers,


Mission (Murray McDavid),

Old Malt Cask (Douglas Laing),

Provenance (Douglas Laing),


Un-Chill Filtered  (Signatory).

 Whisky Galore (Duncan Taylor),

Rosebank Distillery Camelon,






Now a Beefeater Resturant.

Rosebank Scotch Whisky

Distillery Style Tasting Notes


Nose: Light floral and grassy with a delicate trace of honey.


Palate: Light bodied. Delicate and complex, malt and honey.


Finish: Light and floral.

BUY WHISKY NOW BUY Rosebank Whisky

Founded in the 1790s

Location Lowlands

Water source Carron Valley Reservoir

Last Owners UDV

Distillery Demolished now site is occupied by a Beefeater restaurant.