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Rosebank 1981 25 Year Old

Average score from 3 reviews and 6 ratings 92

Rosebank 1981 25 Year Old

Product details

  • Brand: Rosebank
  • Bottler: Distillery Bottling
  • ABV: 61.4%
  • Age: 25 year old
  • Vintage: 1981
  • Bottled: 2007

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Rosebank 1981 25 Year Old

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!?)

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!

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


This Rosebank was part of Diageo’s 2007 special releases. Distilled in 1981, only 4’710 bottles were put on sale.

The nose is massive and has got something acerbic such as hints of furniture polish, wax and cardboard – not bad, rather very interesting. With water there are biscuits and lemon and a hint of coffee right at the end.

The palate is medium-bodied and oily, quite peppery and spicy, with hints of chocolate. With water it becomes less spicy and very round, with a touch of smoke arising very distinctly.

The finish is very long and voluminous, mouth-watering and warming. At the end there is a bouquet of vanilla, marzipan and lemon. With water the nose is even sweeter, there is more marzipan and a little bit of chocolate.

You would probably not expect smoke from a Rosebank but it was clearly there. In other words, this is not your typical Rosebank but I loved it! The nose was interesting to start with, however it was the simply outstanding finish that really captured my attention. What a pity that the chances to taste such an extraordinary Lowlander will become fewer and fewer.


Nose, Taste, Finish and Balance are graded out of 2.5 each:

Nose: It sounds almost too obvious, but there's immediately a distinct smell of roses - roses planted on a lush bed of smokey earth. It's all roses, then the smoke comes in, and suddenly out of nowhere we have chocolate truffle, of the fruit liqueur variety. Once we get through that, suddenly it's dried dates - this never ends! A Mary Poppins bag of scents if ever there was one. 2.5

Taste: So delicate. It's as if the rose petals caress your tongue, and then release the aroma oils and smoke. The late great whisky writer Michael Jackson wrote that Rosebank was a whisky for lovers, and one can see what he means. 2.0

Finish: Strangely, this whisky seems to be all in the nose and the finish. The taste on the tongue seems to be more a relaxing massage in the interval between the two main acts. First there's the wave of smoke, followed by a rich orange spice, before we find ourselves back with the sumptuous chocolate truffle. Of course, the grand finale of this second act has to be left to the delicate rose, softly wafting over the final notes. Unexpectedly however, and out of nowhere, an encore of ginger appears at the last - this performance seems never to end!! Needless to say the crowd are in raptures. 2.5

Balance: I had never tried a Rosebank prior to this tasting, one which I savoured in the Caley Bar in Edinburgh, on a flying visit to the film festival there. In the past years, I've read countless rave reviews about Rosebank, and many tales of broken hearts, as this now long-closed distillery slowly disappears into history. I have to say there's nothing more awe-inspiring as when something that's so hyped up actually lives up to its billing. If anything it exceeded my expectations. Much like watching an iconic beauty of 1950's cinema, one can still fall in love with the actress on the screen, however the romance associated with the by-gone era in which she existed only serves to accentuate her allure, and this is very much the case with this Rosebank. An iconic beauty in every sense. 2.5

@scribe - i totally agree with your comment on the name, it's almost as if it were a compass box whisky, along the lines of "peat monster" and "spice tree"! thankfully there's a bit more romance to this one.

@markjedi1 - i think i may be joining the club!

Yes, the Rosebanks are amazing - can't help but wonder if they named the distillery after the whisky ;) Cheers, a great read.

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