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Connoisseurs Choice – Rosebank 1991

Review: Connoisseurs Choice – Rosebank 1991
Single Malt Scotch Whiskey 87.5/100
Posted on August 22, 2010

The Connoisseurs Choice is a series of malt whiskies from various Scottish distilleries many of which are no longer producing whisky.  Boasting over 40 different single malts available from the Scottish regions The sheer variety of styles and flavours of whisky available from Gordon and Macphail’s Connoisseurs range is staggering.

The Rosebank Distillery once produced a lazy laid back style of lowland whisky which was triple distilled for extra smoothness. The Distillery was closed in 1993 despite being widely recognized as one of the premier distilleries in the lowland region. Only through independent bottlers such as Gordon and Macphail can we still taste the whisky which was once produced at Rosebank.

In the Bottle 4.5/5

The Connoisseurs Choice arrives in a beige cardboard box with corner cutouts on the front and back. If the bottle is placed in the box properly, then the one view displays the front label and the other view displays the opposite side of the bottle where the back label tells you many things you might want to know about the bottle you are purchasing. For example, the back label tells me that this particular bottle was distilled in 1991, and bottled in 2008 (16 or 17 years of age). It also provides very a brief summary of whisky notes which hints at what I can expect to encounter in the bottle, (although I have learned that the tasting notes provided by the seller sometimes seem to be a work of poetic license on their part).

I am happy the information includes a description of the cask used to age the whisky. In the case of this Rosebank Single Malt we are told that the aging casks were a combination of Refill Sherry and American Bourbon;  therefore, I can deduce that this is not a single barrel bottling, but rather a blend of barrels all aged the same length of time from the same distillery.  The bottling proof is 86, or as the label says 43 % Vol. The whisky inside should have characteristics of both the Sherry refill and the American oak.

In the Glass  8.5/10

After a quick tilt of my glencairn glass, slender legs form and slide down quite quickly. As for the nose, a firm bourbon vanilla leads out in front of a mildly sweet honey and butterscotch. The nose is firm and very inviting, and includes light hints of dried fruit and sherry smoke. The sherry influence is mild and I suspect we have much more of the blend aged in the American oak than the refill sherry. According to the label on the bottle I should also be smelling toasted cocoa, but that appears to be part of that poetic license I mentioned earlier, although the hints of dried fruit might be interpreted as cocoa by another nose.  The addition of a Single ice-cube brought a light fog to the glass which is sometimes the case with non chill filtered spirits. So far I am well pleased by what I have encountered.

In my Mouth 53/60

This is a clean tasting and gentle experience. My palate is tickled with a nice mixture of  warm vanilla, oak spice disguised as citrus, light smoke, and a mildly sweet and punky butterscotch. The smoke brings forth a light combination of dried raisins and currants, and I taste hints of the tripled distilled nature of the whisky which make the dram mildly piny. There is also a lovely sweetness which along with the light smoke brings everything together and make the whisky taste almost floral. I guess we could say that an alpine meadow rests somewhere in the dram.  Again I am well pleased, and perhaps a little beguiled by the gentle complexity I am encountering.

In the Throat 13/15

The exit was like the entry, smooth, crisp and easy. It is just spicy enough to allow the throat to feel the whisky but not strong enough to be uncomfortable. I taste the after effects of the dried fruit more strongly on the exit and even that toasted cocoa which has finally appeared. A light sweetness seems to be the last impression.

The Afterburn  9/10

I am well pleased with Gordon and Macphail  for bringing this expression of Rosebank Single Malt Whisky to the market. It is a nice light easy-going malt that packs a nice bit of complexity into the nuances of its flavour. It is a gentle whisky just perfect for those lazy days of summer.

You may read some of my other Whisky Reviews (click the link) if you wish to have some comparative reviews.

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Suggested Cocktail:

The Rosebank 1991 from Gordon and Macphail is a very nice dram of whisky. I was able to enjoy the spirit neat from time to time, but I also liked making some very nice cocktails. The laid back nature of the whisky lends itself very well to the cocktail drink. After some deliberation I decided I would recommend that you try my Signature Lowland Cocktail, The Lowland Style. Of course I also heartily recommend this spirit neat or perhaps with a bit of ice as well.

Lowland Style:

1 1/2 oz  Lowland Scotch Whisky
1/2 oz Cherry Whiskey
1/4 oz dry vermouth
3/4 oz fresh lemon juice
dash Angostura Bitters
(sugar syrup to taste)

Shake in iced cocktail shaker until frosted
Strain into a suitable glass

Add lemon or lime slice for garnish and if you wish a drop or two of Grenadine for colour.
Enjoy!

Please Remember that my aim is to help you drink better spirits, not more spirits!

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As always you may interpret the scores I provide as follows.

0-25     A spirit with a rating this low would actually kill you.
26-49   Depending upon your fortitude you might actually survive this.
50 -59  You are safe to drink this…but you shouldn’t.
60-69   Substandard swill which you may offer to people you do not want to see again.
70-74   Now we have a fair mixing rum or whisky.  Accept this but make sure it is mixed into a cocktail.
75-79   You may begin to serve this to friends, again probably still cocktail territory.
80-84   We begin to enjoy this spirit neat or on the rocks. (I will still primarily mix cocktails)
85-89   Excellent for sipping or for mixing!
90-94   Definitely a primary sipping spirit, in fact you may want to hoard this for yourself.
95-97.5 The Cream of the Crop
98+        I haven’t met this bottle yet…but I want to.

Very loosely we may put my scores into terms that you may be more familiar with on a Gold, Silver, and  Bronze medal  scale as follows:

70 – 79.5    Bronze Medal (Recommended only as a mixer)
80 – 89.5     Silver Medal (Recommended for sipping and or a high quality mixer)
90 – 95         Gold Medal (Highly recommended for sipping and for sublime cocktails.)
95.5+            Platinum Award (Highest Recommendation)

2 Responses to “Connoisseurs Choice – Rosebank 1991”

  1. EricH said

    According to the late Michael Jackson (the whisky writer not the singer), Rosebank’s signature is chamomile.

    • I can see how the ‘almost floral’ note that I describe could be considered to be a chamomile signature, especially with the complementary light sweetness and warm citric spiciness.

      Thanks Eric

 
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