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Thursday 16 September 2010

Rosebank Rises From The Ashes?

Not an entirely new story (in fact, recently reported on Rob Allanson's excellent new blog) but a story that we felt compelled to share with you. We'd been hearing all manner of reports about the proposed new Falkirk distillery (from way back in 2008) apparently purporting to call itself Rosebank, which was making a few people very unhappy indeed. But now it seems that the distillery has been given the backing of the Scottish planning authorities and will see the light of day after all. The £5 million distillery had applied for the erection of a new distillery premises, bonded warehousing space, a visitor's centre, restaurant and 6 retail units and the picture below gives you some idea of their proposed layout.

All well and good. Great, a new Lowland distillery. But a new 'Rosebank'? Purists will argue that the distillery died, the day the original distillery was mothballed back in 1993, the final nail firmly driven into the cask when the original stills were apparently stolen and broken down into scrap. But according to recent reports, the distillery group have now also obtained the right to buy up all the remaining equipment, owned by the previous owners of Rosebank, DCL. The name Rosebank is a massively valuable asset (legally owned by Diageo) and we suspect the majority of whisky fans out there will be uncomfortable with any tenuous association to the new facility, despite the acquisition of original distillery gear, especially if it creates a 'Rosebank 2.0' situation. Remember folks...remakes are seldom better than the original... The Italian Job and Get Carter immediately spring to mind.

And what of the remaining stock? Clearly, the value of whatever is left will rise, probably creating some sort of gold rush of official and independent bottlings. Potentially good in one respect, as we dearly love Rosebank, but potentially bad, as the last few bottlings we've tried were in their late teens- and in our opinion, a little tired, over oaked and lacking in that wonderful zesty, floral note and the rich buttery charm younger bottlings have had.

Some things are best left long lost and sorely missed...despite the unfairness of their demise.

On a positive note- if the distillery group get the project right, a brand new Lowland whisky will be born- and in this day and age, that much is worth championing, just so long as it isn't poorly dressed up in someone else's outfit.