...where distraction is the main attraction.

Monday, May 24, 2021

Goodbye Rosebank

Two months after returning from our Scotland trip, Kristen and I named our new house, Rosebank (because Ladyburn sounded like a shaving mishap). Our eyes had gone wide upon learning we could pay less for triple the square footage in central Ohio compared to Long Beach, CA, so the house was always going to be too big. There were rooms for which we never found a consistent use over five years, and we quickly discovered that having more space and more things was more of a problem than a solution to anything.

The silence and darkness across large houses like Rosebank make them feel haunted at times. My parents had a cold, dark house for over decade, and while I'm sure one can conjure all sorts or figurative things out of that, there was something palpably heavy and unwelcoming about that space. Kristen and I never wanted our home to be like that.

Rosebank was full of character. My home office had great acoustics, but less-than-great airflow. The sunroom was the prettiest room in any home I've lived. Much of the last few years were spent at the kitchen's island, as it made for an office (despite the actual one nearby), living room (despite the actual one nearby), dining room (despite the actual one nearby) and playroom (despite the actual one nearby). Deer, groundhogs, skunks and more bird species than I've ever seen passed through our backyard. 

But it is time to depart Rosebank. The boxes that have surrounded me for two weeks have only underscored my discomfort with constant accumulation. So it can difficult to see the whisky bottles as anything but overwhelming right now. There will be more words on that issue in 2022, when I'll be much wiser about the universe and more confident about the future.

Moving on from the sort of content I'd just announced I was uncomfortable about, how about a whisky review? For my final tasting at Rosebank, I am going pour my final sample of Rosebank single malt. Thank you to St. Brett who shared a bit from his bottle of the 2011 Special Release, a 21 year old, distilled in 1990.

Distillery: Rosebank
Ownership: Diageo
Range: Special Releases
Region: Lowlands
Age: at least 21 years old (1990-2011)
Maturation: refill American and European Oak Casks
Outturn: 5,886 bottles
Alcohol by Volume: 53.8%


It has a springtime nose. Limes, honey, wildflowers, jasmine. Nectarine skins and cantaloupe juice. And, yes, roses. It also has a dash of an industrial oil, similar to Midleton's Powers pot still style. The nose gets more aggressive once the whisky is reduced to 46%abv. There's a mix of lemon and grass (but not lemongrass), then peaches and fresh thyme, on top. But there's a distinct artificial floral note, like that of dryer sheets, in the background.

Simpler than the nose, the palate is full of honey, orange candy and tart apples, with hints of malt, vanilla bean, jasmine and herbs in the back. Diluting it to 46%abv turns the palate very very tart and slightly tannic, with some moderate sweetness and vanilla in the mix.

It finishes with tart apples, honey and clementines. Moderately sweet, with a touch of American oak. Reducing the whisky to 46%abv, matches the finish to the palate.


Very pretty when neat, edgier with water, the whisky is at its best on the nose. It's casual and friendly on the palate, but doesn't register the same glee as the nose. Though it would lose in a matchup with last week's Littlemill, this Rosebank would be another great May afternoon sipper. And that is all. The Rosebank experience doesn't end in a song.

Availability - Secondary market
Pricing - $260 was the 2011 SRP, it's quadrupled or quintupled in price in the decade since then
Rating - 86 (neat)