World famous ‘lost’ distillery Rosebank set to reopen in 2020

Cult ‘lost’ distillery Rosebank hopes to reopen in autumn 2020 as plans to resurrect the Lowland single malt await council approval.

Try our whisky , lochs and castles tour 

Our private group visits a malt whisky distillery and two unique Scottish castles. This tour visits Deanston Distillery, Stirling Castle and Doune Castle. Doune Castle featured in Monty Python and the Holy Grail , Game of Thrones and Outlander

Two ancient Scottish castles and a distillery feature in this tour –

  •  Stirling Castle
  • Doune Castle
  • Deanston Highland Malt Distillery
  • Loch Lubnaig and Loch Lubhair

Doune Castle featured in Monty Python and the Holy Grail , Game of Thrones and the Outlander TV series.

Stirling Castle is one of Scotland’s most impressive castles due to its imposing position and amazing architecture.

Deanston Distillery makes award-winning Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky. The Standard Tour finishes off with a tasting of Deanston 12 year old whisky . 

Taste a single malt whisky

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Rosebank distillery artist's impression
Fresh start: Plans to restart distillation at Rosebank are currently with Falkirk Council

Ian Macleod Distillers, which announced plans to revive Rosebank a year ago today (10 October), wants to demolish most of the old distillery, replacing it with an ‘efficient, contemporary building’, according to proposals lodged with Falkirk Council.

The ‘historically significant’ buildings alongside the Forth & Clyde Canal will be retained and refurbished for use as a visitor centre, café, tasting room, shop and exhibition space.

Rosebank ceased production in 1993 when then owner UDV (now Diageo) mothballed the site; most of the distillery equipment, including the stills and mash tun, was stolen in late 2008, and its maltings were converted into a Beefeater restaurant.

‘It’s derelict now,’ Robbie Hughes, group distillation manager at Ian Macleod Distillers. ‘The pigeons have taken over, doing what pigeons do best. It’s a horrible-looking site.’

Plans for Rosebank’s revival, which could cost up to £12m, were lodged with Falkirk Council during the summer, and Ian Macleod hopes to have a final decision in the next few weeks.

Rosebank Distillery today

The present…: Rosebank’s historic canalside buildings will be retained and refurbished

‘There’s a lot of enthusiasm for this,’ said Hughes. ‘The people of the town want this to happen, the council wants this to happen. We’re 97% of the way there [with securing planning permission].’

The new distillery will have three stills for triple distillation, plus worm tub condensers, aiming to mirror as closely as possible Rosebank’s historic and much-loved style.

There are records of the process and new make spirit style from 1970s but, said Hughes, these were of limited use. ‘Things have moved on so much since then … It’s triple distillation, so there are a lot more permutations.’

The only piece of equipment likely to survive from the old distillery is the mill – which was second-hand, coming to Rosebank from Port Ellen on Islay during the 1930s.

Early forecasts that the distillery could be operational as early as 2019 have proven ambitious. ‘I think we’re likely to be operating two years from now, in autumn 2020,’ said Hughes.

Rosebank distillery artist's impression

…and the future: Ian Macleod hopes Rosebank will attract 50,000 visitors a year

The new Rosebank will have a production capacity of up to 1m litres of pure alcohol a year, with no intention to release young whiskies. ‘We don’t need to do that,’ said Hughes.

‘We’ll release the cask when the quality is right, not just to make money … We might look at a smaller cask at eight years, like a Bourbon barrel, if the quality’s right – but it’s more likely to be 10 or 12 years.’

Ian Macleod is still to purchase the Rosebank site – the acquisition from current owner Scottish Canals is contingent on planning permission – but has already bought the Rosebank brand and stocks from Diageo.

The company expects to use these stocks for official Rosebank releases in 2019 of ‘one or two’ single cask bottlings, likely to date from the late 1980s or early 1990s.

When open, the new Rosebank hopes to attract up to 50,000 visitors a year to its visitor centre and distillery tours.

Try our whisky , lochs and castles tour 

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Whisky , lochs and castles tour

Our Whisky and castles tour features a visit to two ancient Scottish castles  – Stirling Castle and Doune Castle – plus a tour of Deanston distillery , producer of Highland malt whisky .

  • private tour
  • Stirling Castle
  • Doune Castle
  • Deanston distillery
  • Loch Lubnaig
  • Loch Lubhair

Doune Castle

doune castle , outlanderOriginally dating to the 13th Century, Doune Castle near Stirling plays Castle Leoch, home to Colum MacKenzie and his clan in Outlander TV series .

It also features in the 20th century episode when Claire and Frank Randall visit the castle on a day trip. Doune has appeared several times on screen and was widely used in Monty Python and the Holy Grail. It also represented the castle Winterfell in Game of Thrones.

Once a Royal residence, Doune Castle was rebuilt by Robert Stewart, Duke of Albany in the late 14th Century.

doune castle, outlander tours

Visitors spend up to one hour at each location .

Deanston Distillery

In 1785 the Deanston Cotton Mill opened its doors. Designed by one of the fathers of the industrial revolution, Richard Arkwright, Deanston was at the forefront of new beginnings as Scotland moved from agriculture to industrialisation.

In 1949 Deanston’s historic and long running commitment to sustainable energy was secured with the installation of new electrical turbines which to this day provide all of its  electricity using water from the river and original lade.

In 1974 Deanston produced the very first bottle of Deanston Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky.

The standard tour at Deanston costs £9 per person ( not included on tour price )

Each tour warmly welcomes you into the heart of the distillery, where Deanston makes award-winning Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky. Here you will see a traditional open top mash tun, gleaming copper stills and a must-see vaulted maturation Warehouse 2B. Join the experienced tour guides on a journey through time, taking you back to the past as a cotton mill and through the evolution of Deanston. The Standard Tour finishes off with a tasting of Deanston 12 year old whisky .

Guided tour of the distillery Includes a tasting of Deanston 12 year old , £5 voucher towards the purchase of any bottle of Deanston 70cl single malt whisky in the distillery shop Duration: 50 minutes

Every drop of Highland Single Malt is a marriage of the finest local ingredients and the skill of the craft to create the wonderful, fresh, honeyed sweetness that Deanston is known for. The Distillery has a  commitment to using a traditional, hand crafted approach to our whisky embodies the honesty of our community. Our adherence to traditional methods combined with the skills and experience of our distillery team makes Deanston the unique single malt it is today.

Stirling Castle

Stirling Castle is one of Scotland’s most impressive castles due to its imposing position and impressive architecture.

From Stirling Castle’s ramparts, visitors can take in views of the Forth Valley and Ben Lomond , as well as two of Scotland’s most important battle sites – Stirling Bridge (1297) and Bannockburn (1314). The castle is at the head of Stirling’s historic old town.Like Edinburgh Castle , Stirling sits on a volcanic rock dominating the city skyline .

stirling castle tours

Stirling Castle is not only one of Scotland’s grandest and most imposing castles, it was also a real favourite with Scotland’s kings and queens. And their investment in it demonstrated just how much they loved to use it, as well as their desire to ensure it both impressed all who visited it, and represented a statement of their power and wealth. James IV created the Great Hall, the largest medieval banqueting hall ever built in Scotland, and James V’s Royal Palace, with its lavishly decorated Renaissance façades, was a masterpiece of the period.

Major conservation work has been carried out at Stirling Castle over many years to preserve the attraction as a major national and international monument. The refurbishment of the Great Hall was completed a couple of years ago . A particular feature of the Great Hall is stained glass windows featuring clan crests . A number of banquets and concerts are held in the Hall throughout the year .


Lunch, snacks and entrance fees are not included in the price .

 Whisky and castles tour – £220 ( private tour for up to 4 passengers )

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