Whisky Review – Rosebank 21 year old – Douglas Laing Director’s Cut series

Rosebank 21 year old – Douglas Laing Director’s Cut series
53.8% ABV
Non-chill Filtered
No added colouring
Distilled March 1992, bottled December 2013
141 bottles released
From cask 10146
£396.00 from TheGreenWellyStop

This is the first Rosebank I’ve had the opportunity to try. I do have some of a recent SMWS bottling, but haven’t tried it yet. I’m really looking forward to this, as Rosebank, being a mothballed (soon to be re-animated) distillery is becoming harder and harder to find.

Talisker (one of my cats!) is currently going mad around the house. If he spills this then I’m going to be very upset!


Light. A floral bouquet. Sweet, vanilla and honey. Complex sweetie shop. Icing sugar. Lemons, oranges, various citrus notes, but of the sweet variety. Jelly babies in paper bags! A little time in the glass with a lid on, on first revisited sniff there is a tiny bit of smoke. Charred oak. The vanilla is now more forward and there is a touch of liquorice amongst the sweet shop. More time in the glass and it’s gone back to being confectionary focused. This is one nose that changes an awful lot.


Sweet, coconut, vanilla, honey, lemon rind. A blast of pepper spices from the higher ABV. The development then goes into drier oak notes, more citrus fruit notes, more lemon oils now, grassy features are also present, like chewing on some wet grass. With time, the fruit is more juice focused, some light sweet lemon juice, with a touch of pineapple added.


Flowers, grass and citrus. Drying out with pencil shavings and old oak. With more time the dryness is less dominant and the finish becomes longer and juicier, with the drying finale having that original bouquet back in mind.

Adding water.

I’m conscious of the delicate nature of this dram and it’s age and it’s cost, so I’m adding the smallest dab of water and giving it 10 mins. On the diluted nose things have got more intense! The floral fruit sweet basket is now just that, integrated into one and levelled up, with an added level of chest warming glow. A very definite richer intensity to the honey notes also, glorious. The palate is now less on the spicy side, and super juiced up. The lemon notes are now sweeter and with a touch of sour, but juicy, big, with subtlety right out the window. The diluted finish continues this theme, juicier, longer, more intense, chest hugging and with a pronounced feel good factor. One for a tiny drop of water without fail to really launch this dram to new levels.


Being my first Rosebank i didn’t quite know what to expect, I had read about the flavour profile, and in honesty I was wondering if this was going to be a little on the bland side. WRONG! This is a bit of a shy Whisky, without water, it’s good, flavoursome stuff, but it’s merits are hidden away. With a small drop of water it becomes a fountain of juicy pleasure.

Massive thanks to Douglas Laing Co. for providing a sample.