More fine whisky from the gang at Douglas Laing - this time the splendid Rock Oyster.
I first bought a bottle when this blend of island malts from distilleries including Orkney, Arran, Jura and Islay first came out in January 2015. That bottle was a birthday gift to myself and I thoroughly enjoyed its smoky, costal character.
So recently, I purchased bottle no.2 - not something I do very often - and I'm pleased to say it's just as good as the first. As you'd expect, the Rock Oyster is non-chill filtered and has no colouring added. Just what we like.
There's a cask-strength bruiser out now, too, although I'm having difficulty tracking it down. Early reports have been very favourable and I'll be snaffling a bottle as soon as I can.
Nose: Chalky Edinburgh rock, salty vanilla, seaweed, fennel and white pepper. There's an ever-present peat presence - try saying that quickly after a few drams - but it's never overpowering. It kinda reminds me of Ardbeg due to its lemony character but who knows? Ash and green apple slices drizzled with lime juice. With water: More vanilla and less peat with some lovely soft lemon.
Palate: A sweet and sour arrival which also includes a whack of vanilla and lots of lemon and apple. The sourness never gets too in your face and that salty peat tang coats the tongue. Barley sugars and icing sugar. Black pepper. With water: Not quite as sour, with more vanilla. Very elegant.
Finish: This is where the peat kicks in - but there's also a delicate sweetness to it and a hint of toffee. Salty stuff. This would be the perfect companion on an Ayrshire beach in early January. Campfire smoke and a green herbal note carries through the long finish. With water: Slightly less peat and a touch more spice.