Scott Jackson is possibly Rosebank’s biggest fan with an amazing collection of old bottles to prove it. Born and raised in Falkirk he was naturally curious to try the local whisky and, as he explains – it was pretty well love at first sip.
Listening to his uncle Jimmy’s tales of working at Rosebank distillery captivated Scott Jackson as a teenager growing up in Falkirk. “I was absolutely taken by the fact that people would make whisky during the night,” he says, and by pure coincidence, it was at night-time when he finally got to see round the distillery in 2000. By then he had become one of Rosebank’s greatest fans, though sadly the whole place had shut down years earlier. On the tour “there was just me, my father-in-law, the night watchman and his dog,” he recalls. “It was an almost surreal experience – eerily quiet, and such a pilgrimage for me. I had a wee hipflask and we toasted the ‘old lady’ in the still room.”
With its towering chimney stack, Rosebank had always been a strong presence in Falkirk, even if you rarely saw bottles of its whisky. Instead, according to Scott, people drank King George IV which was considered the local whisky. “We always believed that a little Rosebank had gone into that blend,” says Scott, who remembers its name painted proudly in big letters on the distillery’s old maltings.
“In the early 1990s, when I was in my mid-twenties, I’d developed a taste for whisky and decided to explore Rosebank,” he explains. “I bought a bottle of the 12-year-old ‘Flora & Fauna’ in a wooden box from a local newsagent and thought ‘this is a really decent whisky’, floral, citrusy, cereal … and with a crème brûlée sweetness.” Other expressions followed from firms like Caidenhead, the Scotch Malt Whisky Society and Bonfanti in Italy, until he had amassed an incredible collection of some of the finest Rosebank whiskies ever bottled. Like everyone in Falkirk, he’d assumed the distillery was gone for good. Asked how he felt on hearing the news of its rescue, his whole face lights up. “Oh, that was total joy!”