Rosebank 21 1990

Thanks to /u/Saba007 for pouring me this dram.

So I’ve been sick, and that’s sucked. Really sick. Haven’t had the energy to have many drams, save for special occasions, and haven’t had the energy to do much more than work/school.

But you’re not here for that. You’re here because I’m well again and writing again. So let’s get to that.

Rosebank is one of those distilleries you hear when discussing “legendary” distilleries, like Brora, or Port Ellen, or St. Magdalene. However, there’s a bit more to it. In the last few years we’ve seen the legendary status of Rosebank take a few hits. New barrels were found, finishes were had, and the immediate “gotta have it” reaction was watered down.

Thus I’m happy to be reviewing one of the drams that made Rosebank that warrior-hero status, Rosebank 21 1990. This OB dram is on one of my lists of “to review”, which I based on two books I was given that had similar names.

Let’s get past the hype. How does this dram taste, shall we?

Price: Sold out

Region: Lowland

Abv: 53.8%

Colour: 7.5Y 9/8

Nose: Pineapple, coconut, Blondies, lemongrass, kiwi

Immediate Lowland tropical fruit. Lovely coconut, some brown sugar notes, and this ever persistent grassy/herbal note that grows with time/water.

Wow. Unique, well put together. There’s a reason I was recommended this. I’m assuming quality, but it may also be because I’m a sucker for Lowlands.

Taste: Lemon warhead candy, caramel, grass, orange Madeleine, buttered roll

Immediate big sweet/citrus note, lovely caramel goes from there. For a bit, it almost seems like a simple if well put together dram, and then the citrus grows and grows.

Eventually some nice bready/flour note. Good butter comes from water.

Finish: Lemongrass, heather, caramel, dusty, brine, dry apple, coconut More herbal, more dusty/old style, and some salt. The end feels like a virgin oak cask but lighter. Good fruit notes, lovely balance.

Conclusion: Light, tropical, citrus, well-made dram that does things well and different. At the end of the day there are more complex drams, but very few that do light, tasty, and interesting this well. This is from a time where companies had more casks to be picky with. And while I certainly wish there were more cases like this, they are hard to find.

All in all, if you’ve never had a really nice Lowland, and think of them as too light, too simple, or too floral, this is what you need to try in your life. It shows the direction that a cask strength, proper dram should have. That tropical aspect, that herbal aspect, and that evolving citrus element. A must try.


Scotch review #1106, Lowland review #44, Whisky review #1716

1001 Whiskies You Must Taste Before You Die review #364

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