With the recent news that Ian Macleod have purchased the stock, trademark and site of the old Rosebank distillery I took the opportunity to ask some questions of Gordon Doctor, Director of Whisky Operations at Ian Macleod Distillers, about Rosebanks Future.
1. Rosebank has long been a favourite lowland of many, do you have a particular expression of Rosebank that brings back fond memories and you would love for others to experience?
It’s been several years since we had any Rosebank casks in stock which we bottled at 18yo and 20yo. The whisky was very good at this age but I’ve read a lot of good reports about younger Rosebank so I look forward to sampling some should we manage to get any bottles from the Diageo archive. A colleague of mine has a 12yo expression but refuses to open it!
2. Are there plans currently to see the return of well known expressions like the Rosebank 8 Unblended and the Rosebank 12 Flora and Fauna (although appreciate the F&F expression will have to change)?
Not surprisingly, we have not really made any decisions on this as we have plenty of time to ruminate.
3. Rumours as to the reason behind Rosebanks demise initially were of the cost of upgrade work in terms of effluent and lack of room for expansion around the distillery, are these both issues you see being solved easily?
New technology has meant we can look at alternatives to effluent disposal that were not around 25 years ago.
4. We know that the distillery will require a fair amount of work to get back to full working order what do you see as the biggest challenge?
Incorporating a visitor experience on the site without compromising on our plans to essentially replicate the distillery as it was.
5. How soon might we see a release from the current stocks (0-6 months, 6-12 etc) and will there be opportunities for the ordinary Rosebank lover to access this, unlike some of the hugely inflated prices of some bottlers over the last year or so?
I think it is more likely to be 6-12 months. With only a few casks left and many years before the new distillate is available the challenge will be to balance demand and affordability. We will certainly try to do this as fairly as we can.
6. Are there plans to seek to re-employ some of the original teams from Rosebank, even if just on a consultancy basis to help you get it right?
We’d be delighted to hear from anyone who worked at the distillery at the time of its closure.
7. Is the plan currently to release at a young age, ie 3/4, or wait until it's ready?
No plans to release at a young age but we will continually monitor maturation and when our experts believe we have a spirit worth sharing we will do so.
8. Will the distillery triple distill every drop? or will it double distill some for experimental reasons?
I’m sure the new manager will want to experiment which I’d be happy for him to do.
For more information, please visit www.rosebankwhisky.co.uk