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Production restarts at Rosebank Distillery

Following a 30-year closure, Rosebank Distillery has completed its first distillation run and begun the maturation of Cask No 001.

L-r: Malcolm Rennie, Gordon Dundas, and managing director Leonard Russell

Known as ‘The King of the Lowlands’, Rosebank Distillery, located in Falkirk, Scotland, was mothballed in 1993.

However, the distillery is now in the process of being restored ‘to its former glory’ by owners Ian Macleod Distillers, and is expected to reopen to visitors in 2024.

Ahead of the opening, the distillery has completed its first distillation runs, and the new make spirit is now maturing in a refill Bourbon barrel that will create a rich, fruity, and floral whisky, reminiscent of the original Rosebank’s signature flavour profile, which was regarded was one of ‘the lightest, most floral Scotch whiskies ever made’.

This has been described as a major milestone on the distillery’s restoration journey.

Malcolm Rennie, Rosebank distillery manager, said: “We’ve known all along the magic and majesty that Rosebank retains, and you can really feel this come to life as we start up production once again and fill the first cask with the new Rosebank spirit, Cask No 001.

An artist’s impression of Rosebank Distillery

“We’ve assembled a fantastic distillery team and there is excitement among us all as we complete our first distillation runs. This is the first Rosebank spirit to be distilled in more than 30 years, so it’s an absolute honour to oversee the moment, and play a part in returning this once whisky giant to its former glory.”

The new distillery, which has been restored ‘from the ground up’ in its original location, has retained the format of the original production plant.

Blueprints of the original stills were found and used to recreate the shape and characteristics of those from the original distillery.

New worm tub condensers have been installed replacing the original ones, which are said to impart a ‘special element’ of the Rosebank distillation process and yield a heavier style of spirit due to less copper contact during vapour condensation.

The landmark chimney has been repaired and continues to ‘dominate’ the skyline and centres the distillery site.

From 2024, the distillery will offer a ‘world-class’ visitor experience for Rosebank fans around the world, with the finishing touches being applied to a series of spaces across the historic site.

The last part of the build will be to create a two-storey car park that will ensure the local community are shielded from visitor parking needs. The car park could allow more than 50,000 whisky visitors to visit the highly anticipated attraction each year.

Last year we chatted with Ian Macleod Distillers’ brand development and advocacy director, Gordon Dundas, about what it takes to rescue a brand from the brink of becoming a historical footnote.

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