Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Whisky Discovery #1147

Douglas Laing's 'Rock Oyster' NAS 46.8% abv
Blended (or 'vatted') Malt
Circa £38.00 70cl

Joining Douglas Laing's family of 'vatted' malts at the beginning of 2015, Rock Oyster pays homage the sea, created using the finest maritime Malts including those distilled on the Islands of Jura, Islay, Arran and Orkney. 

Sitting alongside their other core regionally themed vatted malts – Big Peat from Islay, Scallywag from Speyside and Timorous Beastie from the Highlands - Rock Oyster is a small batch bottling at 46.8% abv without colouring or chill-filtration. As typical with this range, much attention has been spent creating the packaging which features a bespoke illustration of both an oyster, and a nautical scene, while telling it's story.

Managing Director Fred Laing say: “Rock Oyster showcases the archetypal Island character of gentle peat-smoke, vanilla’d honey and salt. If I could select just one dram to transport the Whisky enthusiast to the Islands of Scotland, it would be this one. 

So What Did We Think?
Following on from the recent additions of Scallywag and Timorous Beastie, Rock Oyster certainly looks the part in it's bespoke packaging, and a line up of all four would look great on the shelf! We've taken our bottle down to the Bedford Whisky Club and it has been very well received there, and we've only seen positive reviews for this on social media. 

Kat says: I was instantly transported to rock pools on the beach, and weekends visiting my Grandparents down at Portsmouth and Southampton docks. It just smells of pure brisk sea air, sun, salty sea spray, seaweed, damp ropes, and wet oak docks. Left for about 5 minutes in the glass, the sweeter notes makes its way through – for me fresh conference pears and seared scallops, along with a dry dusty soot notes. 

Fresh ginger cuts its way through, balancing the sea notes and sweetness, lifting the dram. Tasting begins with soft honey sweetness, followed by a touch of oak note, leading gently into a delicate soft peat note that’s more of cold soot or cold smoke. There are two spices that really come through here, black cardamoms and star anise. There is definitely an earthier note on the palate than the nose, and the iodine/seaweed note doesn’t come through here for me. The finish is long and lingering – earthy, dry soot and spices.

Dave Says: We both wrote our notes completely separately but upon receiving Kat's notes to write this post feel she'd covered all of mine too! My notebook is full of one word descriptors that Kat has tied together nicely with memories. 

I find this soft, sweet, with smoke, salt and ripe grain. I also found hints of aniseed and Bassets 'liquorice allsorts'. Returning to it again recently it's fresh and lively definitely bringing memories of beach walks and salty rock pools. On the palate it comes across as young and feisty, but a little richer than expected. The salty sea breeze leads, but there's a spicy black pepper note too. The peat smoke follows, but it's gentle rather than 'in your face' leaving charcoal notes and hints of vanilla and sweet green grapes, before finishing peppery and a little drying leaving that maritime saltiness, with the empty glass the following morning yielding sweet toffee and charcoal.
Verdict: A very balanced dram, we loved that the peat notes are not over powering but still noticeable, giving the dram a delicate smokiness and still let the sweetness shine. Kat was surprised to find this dram was light and delicate, as she was expecting this to be heavier. A fantastic dram and certainly fitting in the 'bang for your buck' category. We can’t recommend this enough for anyone who prefers their peat on the lighter side and with some soft sweetness, and those who like a long finish.

Slàinte! Dave and Kat

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