Gordon & MacPhail Cask Strength Rosebank 18 Year (1991)

Scotch Whisky Review #461: Gordon & MacPhail Cask Strength Rosebank 18 Year (1991)

Distillery: Rosebank.

Region: Lowland.

Age: Distilled July 3rd, 1991. Bottled August 22nd, 2009.

ABV: 53.30%. Cask Strength.

Cask Numbers: 2119 – 2121.

Cask Types: Refill Bourbon Barrels.

Price: Sample courtesy of /u/federalagents.

Color: 1.1, Burnished.

Nose: The nose does not inspire much confidence. It is fairly ethanol heavy, far more than this probably should be. Notes of malt barley and flowers are the most prominent after the ethanol, dandelion and chamomile are what come to mind. There’s an earthy-flowery-sugary note as well, perhaps a bit of demerara sugar and an elderflower syrup.

Palate: The nose teased it but this is basically jet fuel. It’s hot, incredibly so and incredibly unpleasant. At full strength, it just burns. After dousing it in water, it becomes drinkable but is far from anything impressive. It is fairly bready in flavor, there’s something that reminds me of the semolina bits from the bottom of a pizza crust. It remains ethanol heavy, even after drowning it, though it does become drinkable. A bit of floral liqueur and vanilla icing wrap things up.

Finish: Medium in length. Warm at best, searing hot at worst. Bit of lemongrass, a bit of malt, and a bit of yeast come through when it isn’t trying to burn your tongue off.

Conclusion: It may sound a bit callous, but I’ve been of the opinion that some distilleries probably closed for reasons related directly to the spirit they produced and less for reasons related to overarching market factors. My experiences with Rosebank, while admittedly limited, have not impressed and this Gordon & MacPhail bottling is the worst of the lot. With a ton of water, it is barely drinkable and lacks in flavor even when you get something other than pure ethanol. Unimpressive and ultimately I’m left thinking Rosebank closed for a reason.

Final Score: 60.

Scotch Whisky Review #461, Lowland Review #17, Whisky Network Review #618

Scoring Legend:

  • 96-100: The perfect dram, nectar of the gods.
  • 90-95: Near perfect, there is something truly special about this whisky and I will always try to keep a bottle of this in my collection if feasible.
  • 85-89: Very good to amazing, almost the complete product and I’m likely wanting a bottle or two.
  • 80-84: Quite good, pleasant overall though there is usually a few things that could be improved still.
  • 75-79: Good, enjoyable to drink but ultimately flawed.
  • 70-74: Alright, solid and 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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