How much is too much?

Rosebank distillery announced the other day that they are releasing 2 new bottlings of the closed distillery on Friday the 14th of February.
26 years old and at cask strength you can only apply to buy one of the first 100 of these bottlings via ballot. And if you’re a winner of said ballot then you; you lucky devil; get to part with £2,500 to have the honour of owning a bottle of this precious liquid.

I’ve been around the block a couple of times and I know the score; its a marketing exercise and a chance for the distillery’s new owners, Ian McLeod Distillers, to drum up some much needed revenue to help fund their redevelopment of the site they acquired from Scottish Canals in 2017. I’ve got no problem with that; they need the cash and having an ‘exclusive’ bottling or two helps raise funds. It just makes me more disillusioned with the brand.
Those of you that have read my previous article about Rosebank; picking up that bottle whilst I was down in Devon for an absolute steal; will know I have a bit of a soft spot for the distillery. My first distillery visit was Glenkinchie; another Lowland malt; and I have watched many a Ralfy review and read many books and articles about how good Rosebank was. It was something I never thought I’d be able to try, and it actually lived up to the hype.

Thing is; was it really £2500 good?

I’d never pay that much for a bottle of whisky ever; and no, not even if I won the lottery. I’d have to start playing it first. I don’t know if it’s the penny-pinching Northerner in me telling me there’s better ways to spend your money, or maybe I have a ceiling to my whisky buying exploits. Thinking it over I don’t think I’ve ever tipped over the £100 mark in buying a bottle of whisky. I immediately start thinking at that price I can get two really good bottles instead of one that arguably is just as good.

I can’t see these being flipped for more than what they’re being sold for already; you can pick up 1970’s Rosebank off online auction sites for a third of these new bottles RRP.

If you were going to spend big money on a Rosebank . . .


So who are they targeting? They’ve obviously ruled me out as a tight-fisted Northerner; they’ve ruled out the flippers as there’s no margin in the resale. They’ve ruled out anyone with any sort of sanity.
So that just leaves lunatics with too much money.
Ah yes. The collectors. Many of these bottles will no doubt be purchased; put in a large cabinet; and their serial numbers logged onto a spreadsheet and forgotten about.

Such fun.

Call me bitter or cynical if you like; but if you don’t drink it; it doesn’t exist as whisky. It’s a very expensive paperweight.

Speaking of drinking whisky . . .

I picked up this bottle of Blair Athol from a off-licence near me around the middle of last year. It’s a Douglas Laing Bottling distilled way back in 1990 and was bottled in 2004 and is one of only 691 bottles. It cost me £55 and is bottled at 50% abv from a first fill sherry butt.

Nose: Alot more woody than you’d expect; vanilla and a a hint of cinnamon. Addition of water gives a feint rubbery solvent scent

Palate: The sherry is there but I’d expect more from a first fill cask; toasted malt and spirit driven; slightly tart raspberry but not extremely prevalent; a taste of chewing on fresh grass has appeared after the addition of water.

Finish: An unexpected hoppy IPA style finish; the spirit really has done over any cask influence here.

A decent if somewhat challenging dram.

2/5. A reputable score for something whose flavours really struggle to shine

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