General facts: This is a single malt from the Scottish Lowland region, and by the now closed Rosebank distillery. This specific distillery can be traced back to 1798, but in 1993 it was mothballed and then closed for good in 2002. This is a bottling is an independent one y Ian Macleod, has an ABV of 46% and is neither chill-filtered nor artificially coloured. It’s a single cask edition with whisky from cask no #407 (ex-sherry butt), which was bottled exclusively for the Swedish market. The spirit was distilled in February 1990 and bottled in June 2010.
Colour: light golden
Nose: Vanilla, evident lemon sponge cake (I love it when I find this note in a whisky!), slightly waxy, a sheer floral note, dried figs and raisins, as well as some tropical fruits. There is a spiciness here that reminds me of gentle, sweet, yellow curry (!). With water the nose calms down a bit, only to return with more sweetness in the shape of banana and jam. The waxiness increases and arrack emerges.
Taste: Soft and creamy, with a oakiness to it. Complex but light and fresh – almost refreshing in a sense. Then a herbal note – is it sage? Some chili peppers towards the end. So far the flavour profile is a bit difficult to place. After adding some water the oakiness and floral notes turns into incense sticks, almost perfumy in a soapy sense. The flavour becomes more woody after a while, with a slightly bitter note to it, and a sort of wood cole note emerges. Not smoke, that is, but the actual cole itself. And then some salmiak, sort of. Weird.
Finish: Burnt sugar, oak (fresh wood?). The aftertaste has a light character, is a bit dry and somewhat short. With water added it turns a bit drier still, and a bitter sense of cocoa it added to it.
To sum things up – I find this whisky fruitier on the nose than in the taste, and in general it starts off quite promising. With water, however, I don’t really get along with it. There’s somehow a note of salmiak that’s slightly off compared to the general flavour profile, and I can’t decide if it’s simply complex in an unexpected way that I like, or if I think that the whole picture doesn’t quite add up. Had I perhaps too high expectations? Probably. It’s tasty, but is it convincing me? Yes and no, is most likely my answer. Either it’s not my thing or it’s outsmarting me, and I’m guessing both options are just as likely.