Gordon & Macphail, one of Scotland’s oldest independent bottlers, already has more than 50 casks of Rosebank on their CV. Not all of them are equally good. Some are downright ordinary, while others are true gems. I wonder in what category I’ll be placing this 15 years old malt, distilled in 1990 and bottled at cask strength in 2006, drawn from two sherry butts.
Give the nose some time. It starts closed, but then reveals lovely notes of malt and toffee, baked pears, apple juice, grapefruit and lots of honey. Dust in a carpenter shop. A bouquet of heathery flowers. Some menthol and wet rocks. This is complex and intruiging, but you have to take your time.
It will not surprise you that this is pretty alcoholic. More than 60%. But also piquant on allspice, chili pepper and liquorice. It takes a while for the fruit to shine though. White fruit, but also citrus. Lots of caramel. Reminds me of butterscotch. Hint of roasted almonds. A few earthy notes which give it some cachet. I’m thinking of autumn. But midpalate it turns a bit bitter.
That continues int he finish, making it almost astringent and giving me the urge to reach for a glass of water. Darn.
My 20th Rosebank. Not bad, but no champ either.