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Rosebank 1981 25 Year Old

A Dinner Out And A Lost Distillery!

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@SquidgyAshReview by @SquidgyAsh

4th Oct 2012


  • Nose
  • Taste
  • Finish
  • Balance
  • Overall

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Last night I got a chance to finally go out to eat at a nice restaurant with my wife.

Even more I got a chance to try several whiskies from a distillery that has been closed since 1993.


When I saw that distillery on their menu online I must admit I giggled a little.

OK maybe it was a little more then a little.

OK I just about died from giggling in glee.

Sure the shots are going for over $45 each depending on which bottle I try, but who cares! I mean how often do you get to try a whisky from a distillery that will never produce again.

And not just any distillery, but a distillery that the top whisky critics in the world consider one of the top single malts in the entirety of Scotland (God oh god why is it always the best distilleries that close down?!)

My wife and I haven't been out in weeks, our family has just bought a convenience store and sadly our work days have shot up to 15 or so hours a day (that's just work, nothing else) so we were more then looking forward to a few hours out on the town.

I call up to make reservations and then because I'm a whisky geek I feel the need to confirm what glasses the whiskies will be served in.

They inform me the whiskies are served in tumblers.


Can I bring my own tasting glasses in?

Not a problem!


Over the following week I call them/am called by the restaurant to confirm bookings, etc and each time I confirm that it is indeed OK for me to bring in my own glencairns for the whisky.

Finally the big day arrives and my wife and I head over to the Rockpool Bar and Grill at the Burswood Casino. She takes off early, I'm off at my normal time and we're both excited.

Tired, but excited.

We arrive at the casino and eventually find the restaurant. It's behind two very big heavy wood doors and once you open the doors you walk down a narrow dim hallway with mirrors and candles on either side creating an extremely intimate effect.


once we get through the hallway we are escorted to our seats and then handed menus.

We put the wine menu aside. Won't be needing that!

Ah here we go.


Now I'm not quite sure if my wife has looked over the price lists for the whiskies. As it stands I'm looking at close to $130 for the three shots that I want to try. That's not counting food. That's not counting drinks that she may want.

That's just me.

To ensure that I get to try the whiskies I want to taste the most I order the first one which is also the most expensive.

25 year old Rosebank. Distilled 1981.

Other then the fact that it's a 25 year old Rosebank I have no idea what to expect.

My wife decides to try the Akashi White Oak Japanese whisky.

We order our whiskies and then pull out our glencairns. I'm kinda nervous at this point because this is the final test. Has something got messed up somewhere along the way? Will I be able to use the glencairns?

Our waiter comes up to us, a gentleman from Scotland, who made the entire meal unforgettable and asks if we'd like the whisky poured into the glencairns or into the tumblers and we'll take care of it?

We'll take care of it.

Out they come, those lovely whiskies.

I'm squirming in the seat with glee. A Rosebank!!

I pour the Rosebank into a glencairn and start to immediately nose it.

Oh god it's lovely. Starts off very floral, hints of rose water, then spices! Cloves, cinnamon, fruits, honey and then oak.

That is what we call an awesome nose. Nothing short of awesome!

Time for a taste!

I approach this glass with nothing short of reverence. This might be the only time I get to ever touch a Rosebank (other then my bottle at home, but that's different!) and I want to make sure that I appreciate it for all it's glory.

Oak, then lots of spice, chilli, pepper, cloves, hints of chocolate, very oily and then slowly honeyed roses that have been smoked appear. Alcohol also makes an appearance, but at no point does the alcohol take over the flavor profile.

Oh my god!

The finish is intense and beautiful. Smoke, spices, chocolate, oranges, and delicate roses make this finish so lovely and intense and completes this whisky's transformation from an unknown to me into something that is nothing less then sexy.

Our waiter at this point comes over and asks how I'm enjoying the Rosebank, commenting that he hasn't seen a glencairn since he left Scotland. We start chatting whisky, but we'll get into more of that later.

This is a rare bottle. Rosebank wouldn't be found in just any normal bottle shop in Australia. And this specific bottle if you found it, get ready to pay $500 or more.

Thing is, it's worth it. Simple as that. When I got home I Googled this bad boy and saw it sitting at The Whisky Exchange. To be honest if I hadn't just spent my whisky money, this little guy would have a new home in my cabinet.

This is not a whisky for babies, however this is a whisky to make one grin.

(Can you see my grin? Can you!?)

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GotOak91 commented

Sounded like perfection and yes its always the best ones to go out of business

8 years ago 0

SquidgyAsh commented

Sadly I think your right GotOak91. I do believe I'm going to need to pick up a bottle of this to go along with it's little brother. Makes me very eager to open the 21 yr old Rosebank I have right now, but I must be patient!

8 years ago 0

GotOak91 commented

You must, this whisky being discontinued ranks it up there with special occasions only. I would feel obligated to make it that way.

8 years ago 0

SquidgyAsh commented

Agreed! I think it's a good idea to keep a steady supply of every day whiskies and then a decent sized collection of "Special Occasion Whiskies"

8 years ago 0

GotOak91 commented

I agree as well

8 years ago 0

BlueNote commented

Did you get a decent sized dram for 45 bucks?

8 years ago 0

SquidgyAsh commented

30mls. And this bad boy was $53. The 12 yr old was $45 for 30mls hahaha.

8 years ago 0

BlueNote commented

Ouch!! 50 mls would be a nice sampling, tasting size, the size of a miniature. Sounds like it was worth it though. What the hell, you're dead a long time, as they say.

8 years ago 0

SquidgyAsh commented

Hahaha agreed! Sadly over here all shots are 30mls unlike the US where they're 50mls if I recall, but hey you only live once so you might as well live it up! As for being worth it, TOTALLY!

8 years ago 0

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