Whisky Connosr

Rosebank 1989/2001 Silver Seal

Irish Wake

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@PandemoniumReview by @Pandemonium

9th Dec 2015


Rosebank 1989/2001 Silver Seal
  • Nose
  • Taste
  • Finish
  • Balance
  • Overall

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Rosebank, the sleeping beauty of the lowlands. Although I must admit, at the rate that her buildings are crumbling away, no prince on a white horse will kiss her back to life. Luckily she left us a rich inheritance of more than stellar bottles… That was at least until a few years ago. Cause let’s be honest, when was the last time, you guys encountered a good bottle of Rosebank that wouldn’t bankrupt you? The occasional left-over bottle on a shelf in a specialists shop or lone entry on an auction website, is like a bastard in a basket on the town square: unwanted, unloved and they only get taking in out of charity. Time to face facts: for Rosebank time is up and we won’t see her likes again.

So here is my Irish wake to Rosebank, with a sample by Silver Seal I say my goodbyes.

Description: distilled in 1989, bottled 12 years later in 2001 by Italian independent bottler Silver Seal at 50% ABV, no info on the cask.

Nose: anybody home? Nose virtually non-existing at first, but after a good swirl, it turns out to be a flowery bouquet of lily-of–the valley, dandelions and violets. They are accompanied by soft fruits: gooseberries and citrus. Am I detecting some almond dragués?

Mouth: powerful but dry palate: white pepper, citrus and bitter oak. Nothing more, nothing less.

Finish: a warm pepper-driven afterburner.

Verdict: a simple dram, but highly enjoyable. A few notes: firstly the nose does not seem to fit the mouth. Secondly there is a lot of oak on the palate for a 12yo. A first fill cask or even a virgin cask? Who knows, but it was a bourbon cask, that’s for sure. And lastly, drink this one neat: a drop of water mercilessly kills the palate (quite amazing given the high ABV). As I said a decent whisky, but in no way a direct hit like other Rosebanks that I’ve tried. And by bringing the purchase price into the equation, this whisky doesn’t stand a chance

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Jules commented

Entertaining review, Pandemonium. Your notes on the finish lead me to suspect that this had a wee bit of peat in it, as older Rosebanks used to have...

And yes, I'd venture that all Rosebank should be drunk neat... water bludgeons the fragrant, zesty overtones that are it's hallmark, imo.

8 years ago 0

Pandemonium commented

You might be right on the peat. In small quantities it can be very subtle.

8 years ago 0

Pierre_W commented

Thanks for the review, @Pandemonium. Glad that overall you had a good tasting experience because I have had both highs and lows with Rosebank bottlings, original or independent. Silver Seal of course stand for quality stuff, so I would say you chose your sample wisely. Also, I would second the statement of @Jules that Rosebank is better enjoyed without adding water. Looking at your tasting notes indicating floral flavours, lightly fruity and intermingled with white pepper, I have to say this sounds very much like Rosebank to me!

8 years ago 0

Pandemonium commented

Thanks @Pierre_W , I expected a bit more from Silver Seal. But it is intersting to explore all the different variaties that a distillery has to offer.

8 years ago 0