Rosebank Lowland Whisky Distillery
The history of Rosebank distillery is a rather confused one, there are stories it was in operation as early as 1773 at its original site at Laurieston by a chap called James Smeaton however there is no written documentation to support this. What we do know is that Rosebank was relocated in the 1820’s to a site called Camelon due to a better quality of water supply than at Lauriston. The Camelon location was also next to the Forth Clyde canal which allowed the whisky to be transported easily from its lowland base. We also know the Camelon whisky distillery was in operation by John Stark from 1827 until 1836 which is believed to have been the forerunner for Rosebank. It is not until James Rankine, a local wine merchant, took on Camelon that the name Rosebank began to emerge. Rankine expanded the distillery in 1845 then handed the management onto his son R.W. Rankine a few years later who was very successful in the whisky trade at the time. Rosebank became a sought after whisky by blenders, the demand so great he was able to charge rent on the barrel space to blenders while they waited for their barrel. By 1894 and still in control of the Rankine’s the Rosebank Distillery Company was founded as PLC. So successful was Rosebank that a share issued 3 years later seen the shares fully subscribed in days. However like many Rosebank distillery suffered badly during the Pattison crash resulting in Rosebank being swallowed up by Scottish Malt Distillers (later DCL & Diageo) in 1914. The distillery like most whisky distilleries fell silent during the Great War but did stay in operation during the World War 2.
Unfortunately Rosebank distillery was mothballed in 1993 and the property was sold to the British Waterways Board in 2002 who sold onto a housing company who have since built domestic dwellings on the site overlooking the canal. However part of the distillery was converted into a bar and restaurant so at least some whisky will remain on site.
Rosebank whisky is highly sought after and rated as the best of Lowland whiskies and as a result of the closure of Rosebank now commands high prices. It is triple-distilled like most Lowland whiskies and owes its high quality to the excellent barley produced in the area.
Independent bottling’s are available as well as a couple from Diageo in their ‘Rare Malt Series’ and ‘Flora & Fauna Series’.
Taste: Even the young Rosebank whisky is reportedly good, lemon sugar like many Rosebank Scotch whisky.