Wednesday 21 October 2020

A very personal experience with the new Rosebank 30 Year Old "Release 1" [Tasted #493]

The launch of a new 30yo Scotch whisky would generally be exciting enough on its own. An OB from a closed distillery, even more so. The launch of the new Rosebank 30 Year Old 1990 however was a particular special experience for me, as I was fortunate enough to be one of only 6 people around the world chosen to be part of the launch video, sharing the screen with noted spirits journalists such as Alice Lascelles (FT)Felipe Schrieberg (Forbes) and Mamoru Tsuchiya (Head of the Japan Whisky Research Centre).

Joining some of the world's most authoritative sources on whisky and spirits was pretty special, as was the whole experience of filming the video (eagle-eyed Hong Kong readers might recognise the setting as Tiffany's New York Bar, a favourite of mine), but the real treat was being able to taste the whisky months before the official release. The hard part, of course, was not being able to talk about it until today!

The first in a series of annual, limited releases, Rosebank 30 Year Old 1990 Vintage has been bottled un-chill filtered at 48.6% ABV, from casks laid down in 1990 (62% refill sherry butts, 38% refill Bourbon hogsheads) - just a few years before the distillery closed in 1993. These bottles will be marked "Release One", with each year seeing a new release leading up to the first "new" Rosebank spirit to run from the stills, now that Ian Macleod Distillers has taken over Rosebank and plan to re-open the distillery.

4,350 bottles are available, with a retail price of £1,600. As a fun way to engage buyers, Rosebank is also giving the first 200 people to scan the QR code on the neck collar of their Release One bottle the the opportunity to enjoy a dram of Release Two, and the chance to receive an early link to purchase Release Two before the general release. does it taste?

Rosebank 30 Year Old "Release One" (48.6% ABV, 30yo, Lowlands, £1,600) 
Colour: Bright yellow gold.

Nose: Big, rich, and lively. Orchard fruits, green apple, slight hints of mango and peach (baked peach pie), almonds, vanilla, and nectarine.

Palate: The fruit really dominates - it's not tropical, more orchard, with peach, apricot, pear, and undertones of vanilla. My mum used to make a fruit compote for Christmas, with sherry-soaked pears, apricots, nectarines etc.. and this 100% took me back to those Christmases. Has some slight oak undertones, but very balanced.

Finish: Long, lingering orange peel and a slight hint of oak at the end.

Rating (on my very non-scientific scale): 91/100. Delicious. A whisky that really brought back some memories.

A huge thanks to Ian Macleod Distillers and Wire (and especially Vicky) for the chance to be part of this awesome launch.


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