Gordon & MacPhail Connoisseurs Choice Rosebank 13 Year (1989)

Scotch Whisky Review #345: Gordon & MacPhail Connoisseurs Choice Rosebank 13 Year (1989)

Distillery: Rosebank.

Region: Lowland.

Age: 13 Year. Distilled in 1989, Bottled in 2003.

ABV: 40.0%.

Price: Sample courtesy of /u/KissMeElon.

Color: 0.2, Pale Straw.

Note: The sample /u/KissMeElon and I tried marked this as a “G&M Rosebank 12 Year 1988”. Searching WhiskyBase, there is no 1988 bottling from Gordon & MacPhail that checks out to 12 years. There is a 1989 bottling that does, so I’ve made the assumption that there was a typo. If there is in fact a 1988 Rosebank from Gordon & MacPhail that meets the 12 year age statement, please let me know so I can correct this review!

EDIT: Apparently there was a lot wrong with the labeling of the sample. It was in fact a Gordon & MacPhail Rosebank from 1989, but one bottled in 2003. This would make this a minimum of 13 years

This is the 10th installment of this years’ Christmas Countdown. You can see the 2020 edition here and 2019 edition here.


Nose: It’s really floral. Notes of lavender, heather, and peonies are quite strong and dominant. A light note of honey adds some sweetness as well as some fresh mixed fruit notes.

Palate: It is floral with heather and floral tea being the main notes. Malt barley comes through as well with a hint of honey and some grassy notes.

Finish: It’s super short, almost vanishes here. It leaves behind a clean aftertaste.


Conclusion: The other week, /u/KissMeElon and I had a “dead distillery night” and tasted a number of whiskies from bygone distilleries. This young Rosebank from Gordon & MacPhail was the first one in the line up. If I were to describe it in just two words, I’d have to say it tasted like “waxless Clynelish”. The floral and honey notes are really reminiscent to me of Clynelish and if there was even a hint of wax, I would have most certainly guessed that blind. The floral notes are a bit heavier here but it does stay well on the good side of the “tastes like soap/FWP Bowmore” line. Overall, not bad but nothing super impressive in my opinion.

Final Score: 79.


Scotch Whisky Review #345, Lowland Review #12, Whisky Network Review #495


Scoring Legend:

  • 96-100: The perfect dram, nectar of the gods.
  • 90-95: Near perfect, there is something truly special about this whisky.
  • 85-89: Amazing, will always try to keep a bottle of this in my collection (if feasible).
  • 80-84: Very Good, maybe only one minor nitpick about the whisky keeping it here.
  • 75-79: Good, quite enjoyable to drink.
  • 70-74: Solid, wouldn’t go out of my way to get it.
  • 60-69: Meh, still drinkable.
  • Below 59: If you have a bottle of this, start cooking with it instead.

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