Considered by many to be the great lost distillery of the Scottish Lowlands, Rosebank has a prestigious reputation among whisky connoisseurs. Located in Camelon, near Falkirk, the distillery was closed in 1993 and large sections of the original facility have now been re-developed.
It is believed there may have been illegal distillation taking place at an earlier incarnation of Rosebank distillery as early as 1773. The Stark brothers owned a distillery named Rosebank around 2 miles from the known site in Camelon but moved due to issues with water supply. The first Camelon distillery opened on the banks of the Forth & Clyde canal in 1827 but lasted only 10 years. Rosebank distillery was then officially founded in 1840 by James Rankine.
The distillery was always popular, and was such a hit with blenders that in the late 19th century sales were only available on allocation. However the Pattison Crisis caused many problems for the distillery and it struggled for several years until being taken over by SMD (which subsequently became Diageo) in 1919. This stabilised the facility and it became one of the most loved Lowland malts, particularly noted for its triple-distillation.
The distillery was closed in 1993; this decision is thought to have been taken mainly as a result of its relatively small capacity and inconvenient urban location. Many in the whisky community were vocally opposed to the decision.
Rosebank is to be brought back to life by Ian Macleod Distillers. The company, owner of Glengoyne and Tamdhu single malts, has reached an agreement to buy Rosebank’s Falkirk site from current owner Scottish Canals, and has separately acquired the Rosebank trademark and stocks from the distillery’s previous owner, Diageo. Up to £12m will be invested over the next few years to bring Rosebank back to production, with spirit running off the stills by 2019 at the earliest.