Monday, November 24, 2008

Malt Mission 2008 #320

Rosebank 25yo (1981)
Lowland Single Malt Whisky
61.4% abv


First, I would ask you to draw your attention to is the abv of this puppy. Yowza.

Second thing is that I appreciate the emails of encouragement in spite of the fact that my posting rate has been irregular at best. THANK YOU. And thanks to those who continue to send samples. Dr. Whisky has no intention of stopping this mission, and goodness knows he hasn't; he just struggles to find time to write about it.

Third, YES, I will be doing a Christmas Picks post again where I list Dr. Whisky's choices of the best whisky to give (or receive) this Christmas, including whisky books and other stuff for the malt lover in your life.

Fourth, let's taste this gem from the closed Rosebank distillery. Hey! This is the first Rosebank had on the mission... Amazing. Well, sorry it has taken so long. It is a wide wide world of whisky out there.

Originally converted from the maltings at Camelon Distillery in Falkirk, Rosebank distillery was situatied on the banks of the Forth and Clyde Canal and, many believe, was "murdered" when in the late 1980s, DIAGEO decided to include Glenkinchie as one of its classic malts for the lowland region. Too little too late, but the world has since learned what fine spirit was being produced at this distillery, one of the last to practice triple distillation. It is said that there might still be some Rosebank contributing to Johnnie Walker Swing. Who knows?

This is one of 4,170 bottles produced. Today, notes are by TF, with a few additions by yours truly.


Waxy, sweet; plenty of forward oak, sweet orange, some butterscotch, fudge, spices, cloves. Big, powerful alcoholic prickle. It is over 120 proof! Rye bread, and some wine-like characteristics. Floral notes eventually fight their way through, along with ginger and melon. With water, becomes more biscuity and develops honey notes.

Big oak surge, then the alcohol, zoink! Oily with immense hot pepper and spice, clove and chilli seeds. Very full and oily. As the initial alcohol burn dies away, amazing polished malt comes through to spar with the spices. Delicious. Through the finish, lovely unctuous malt continues to envelop the tastebuds. The length is phenomenal. The clove and cracked black peppercorns have the last word.


Oof! This is a monster (in a good way). The official literature refers to this as 'ripe and mellow'. You're having a laugh, mate - ripe, perhaps; mellow? er, I think not. Clearly aged Rosebank has a different profile to the old 8yo people raved about. Hats off to whoever selected the casks for this - it emphatically gives the lie to the received wisdom that Rosebank had to be bottled young.

Thanks, Tim.

Malt Mission #316
Malt Mission #317
Malt Mission #318
Malt Mission #319

Malt Mission HOME

Monday, November 17, 2008

Malt Mission 2008 #319

Highland Park Tasting Notes
Highland Park 16
Single Malt Whisky
40% abv


Twenty (20!) days since my last Dr. Whisky post and it is not for lack of dramming. Been crazy busy with work and the whiskevangelism has taken me west to Chicago, further to San Francisco and LA, south to Tampa and Miami with roadtrips to Boston, Washington and Philadelphia in between. And yes, a few drams have been had. Have been very fortunate to meet many amazing folks and to see the best and worst bits of this disparate and expansive land. Stories to come in my published chronicles, "Dr. Whisky's Casebook"... heheh.

I recently met Martin Daraz, Highland Park's Ambassador here in the USA. Martin is infected with a sharp wit and the only remedy is, you guessed it, uisge. He insisted on calling me DOCTOR so I insist on featuring some HP sauce on my return to the mission. This expression is only available at Duty Free in the UK (elsewhere?)

Tasted with PK. His notes appear in quotes. For all Highland Parks had on the mission, click HERE.


Cocktail orange. "Bright notes, a lot of candy, fresh, open feeling as well. Candy floss" Slightly winey, honeyed. Woody, "yeah, like fresh construction." This oaky element develops over time, with malty sweetness, opening up to melon and green strawberries. "A light hint of darkness, not ebony, but mahogany. Goes towards the dark."

Dry at first with a candied plum, and a flambéed sugar toastiness. "It's got a bite. Definitely." Floral and sweet like white port ("yeah, vin santo"), some sherry spiciness, but dry and quite oaky. Grapefruit. Lavender candies. And again, oak.


Patience is this dram's friend. With time and air "it suits a spring-feel, bright notes and playfulness. Warm sunlight in cool air, blossoms and, I don't want to go over the top here, but sort of free (hand genstures), you know what I mean?" It must be said, Paul is expressive in art and music as well as whisky-soaked verbiage.

I loved taking my time with this and each nosing or tasting brought new impressions. Distinctly different from the 12 or 18 year olds, and endlessly fascinating. Just enough dry edge to to be puckering and encourage another sip. Might match very well with creamy sweetness like creme brulée or certain cheeses. And the Scotch Chix dug it.

Malt Mission #316
Malt Mission #317
Malt Mission #318
Malt Mission #320

Malt Mission HOME