In Focus: Rosebank Distillery


Our In Focus series offers you a deep dive into some of the distilleries featured across our store. Ahead of its planned opening next month, take a trip into the history of Rosebank Distillery with Geraldo's Whisky Ambassador, James Gillies.

Founded in 1840, on the site of the old maltings for Camelon Distillery — on the opposite bank of the Forth & Clyde canal — the Rankine family founded Rosebank Distillery. Situated in the village of Camelon, west of Falkirk, the reputation of the triple-distilled malt from Rosebank went on to become known by blenders as the “King of the Lowlands”.

Alas, due to the estimated cost (~£2m) of upgrading the effluent treatment plant, the owners at that time, in 1993, decided to mothball the distillery. Over the years, malt aficionados hoped that the distillery would be brought back into produce production, even after the site was sold to British Waterways in 2002.

However, all realistic hope was lost after copper thieves broke into the still house in 2008, when under the cover of darkness, they systematically cut-up the three stills and lifted the pieces out via holes in the roof — effectively stealing the very heart of the distillery.

Image courtesy of Iain Murray, Great Place volunteer, Hidden Heritage: Industry and Empire project 2020.

What a wonderful surprise it was, therefore, that in 2017, that Ian Macleod Distillers announced that after a number of years of negotiations, that they had purchased the site from British Waterways and the brand from Diageo — and had acquired the stock that had been slumbering over the decades.

Some thirty years after being mothballed, the three replacement stills produced new-make spirit, meaning that as of 5th June 2023, Rosebank Distillery had, finally, re-awakened; just as we had hoped.

By meticulously examining all of the archive material available, and consulting previous employees, IMD have striven faithfully recreate the spirit that earned the reputation of being the “King of the Lowlands”, even though triple-distillation is rarely found in Scottish distilleries now, and also by installing traditional worm tubs — to ensure that the original character of the spirit is preserved.

The doors to Rosebank Distillery will open in June 2024, where visitors will be able to sample the new-make and, whilst we await this Lowland spirit maturing, they’ll also be able to taste malts from IMD’s Highland distillery, Glengoyne, and their Speyside distillery, Tamdhu.

As a supporter of Rosebank Distillery, we offer our whisky customers a selection of expressions from Glengoyne and Tamdhu. Be sure to take advantage of our Whisky Month special offers on both brands, available until 31st May 2024.


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