Rosebank SMWS 25.59 (1991/2011) Boxing gloves and rapier thrusts

The Sleeping Beauty

news.stv.tvThis review is for the SMWS 25.59 Boxing gloves and rapier thrusts from the silent Rosebank distillery.

When in late 2012 the good people from Arran Brewery announced their scheme to breathe new live into the abandoned distillery, I had good hopes that Rosebank could be revived in one way or the other. But now almost two years later we know sadly enough that the sleeping beauty of the lowlands will remain dormant for a the years to come.

As for now , all we have left is its legacy: a rich heritage in the form of a wide range of expressions from independent bottlers sold at ridiculously high prices at online auctions. Rosebank is probably the best selling lost distillery after Port Ellen and Brora. But does it live up to its name? Only one way to find out.

Distilled back in 1991, this 20yo whisky was matured in a refill bourbon cask. It was bottled under the name 25.59 Boxing gloves and rapier thrusts by the well-known Scotch Malt Whisky Society with the 25 referring to the Rosebank distillery and the 59 stands for the batch.

whiskybase.comNose: first impression: tropical notes; pineapple and coconut. The second impression is entirely different: fresh on the nose. Notes of green apples and raisins with a touch of cinnamon and hint of citrus.
(with water added: lychee scented flavours appear)

Mouth: with a rich body and high sugary notes of cassonade and ripe durondeau pears on the palate. Followed by refined notes of smooth and sticky marzipan, a touch of coconut flakes, and a whiff of oak.
(with water added: some banana flavours blossom, and overall the mouth becomes much more zesty)

Finish: long and satisfying, drying and dusty (it tastes old),soft fruity notes with a touch of lemon peel

The Verdict


I do not know about boxing gloves or rapier thrusts, but another winner by my books: solid and rich, not too complex  and beautiful in its simplicity. It does everything right: elegant in the nose, graceful on the palate and mature in the finish. The highest rated Lowlander by my standards, so its demise was a devastating loss for the industry. Now I’ve got only one Lowland distillery left to try: Ladyburn, though it will not be easy to track down an affordable sample.