Records exists, showing that a distillery existed in Falkirk as early as 1798, it was run by the Stark brothers in Laurieston. In 1817, James Robertson opened a distillery nearby named Rosebank – records are unclear as to whether this was in the same location as the later distillery. It remained open only until 1819. In 1827 John Stark (of the brothers) opened Camelon distillery on the west bank of the canal, he ran this until his death in 1836. After this time the Camelon distillery was run by Thomas Gunn and his father. In 1840 the Gunn’s were approached by James Rankine to either buy or lease the Camelon distillery Maltings (on the east bank of the canal) where he set up a new distillery under the Rosebank name. The new Rosebank quickly grew, requiring expansion in 1845 and rebuilding in 1864. Indeed in 1861 when Camelon Distillery went bankrupt, Rankine was able to purchase it as well and demolish it, leaving only the maltings for the use of Rosebank. Rosebank Distillery Ltd was formed in 1894, and in 1914 it was among the companies that amalgamated to form the Scottish Malt Distillers. Later the group became part of DCL.
In 1886, the distillery was visited by Alfred Barnard, who noted that it was set across two sites one on each side of the canal with a swing bridge linking the pair. The malt was produced in the former Camelon maltings on the west side of the canal, then would be transferred over to the distillery on the east side by means of the swing bridge. He also noted that their warehouse at the time had storage for 500,000 gallons (1,892,705.9 litres).
Rosebank was once considered one of the premier lowland whiskies but United Distillers mothballed the distillery in 1993. The reason given for the mothballing was that its effluent treatment would have required a £2m upgrade in order to comply with European standards of the time, this did not make it commercially viable. At the time of its closure, it still retained many historical features in the production of the whisky.
In 2002, the distillery buildings and contents were sold to British Waterways by Diageo, and the maltings were demolished to make way for a housing development. In 2008 plans were started to open a new distillery in Falkirk Plans for the new distillery have continued to develop gaining Scottish Government approval, the new building being near the Laurieston site of the original Rosebank distillery. Despite suggestion that the new whisky may be produced under the Rosebank name, Diageo – who own the Rosebank trademark and continue to release limited bottles of original Rosebank whisky – have denied this.
Malt dresser and Mill
Spirit Safe and receivers
By 1988, the bonded warehouse for the distillery (on the west bank of the canal) had been sold off and redeveloped, partially becoming a Beefeater Pub and Grill.
Rosebank Whisky Reviews:
- Rosebank 22 Years Old 1991 25.65 The whispered kiss ~ 50% (SMWS) - Rosebank 22 Years Old 1991 – 25.65 The whispered kiss Lowland single malt scotch whisky 50% ABV, £374.99 buy from SMWS Score: 90/100 What they say: Cask No. 25.65 A whispered kiss from a ghost. Delicate peach skin and apple blossom. Honey glaze on dainty cinnamon pastries. Murky perfume departments. Childhood memories evoked by tinned peaches, […]
- Rosebank 22 Years Old 1991 Single Cask #271 ~ 55.2% (Mackillop’s Choice) - Rosebank 22 Years Old 1991 Single Cask #271 (Mackillop’s Choice) 55.2% ABV, £240 for 70cl Score: 89/100 What MoM says: A 22 year old single cask from Mackillop’s distilled at the celebrated Rosebank distillery. Rosebank is of course a closed distillery in the lowlands whose whisky was triple distilled. Founded in 1798 and mothballed, never […]
- Rosebank 23 Years Old 1990 25.68 Vichy Kisses ~ 57.8% (SMWS) - Review: Rosebank 23 year old single malt scotch whisky Rosebank Distillery via Scotch Malt Whisky Society Cask No. 25.68 Vichy Kisses 57.8% ABV £117.10 buy from SMWS Score: 91/100 What they say: Cask No. 25.68 The panel found ripe pear, apple and lychee drizzled with light blossom honey at first. The Scots found chalky Edinburgh rock […]