Douglas Laing & Co. certainly like to keep things in the family, and that includes the family of Rock Oyster malts that just keeps on growing, now with the release of Rock Oyster Batch 2 Cask Strength Edition.
Douglas Laing & Co. have been around since 1948 and these they are known for the quirky characters representing their bottlings as much as for the exceptional malt they create.
The company has gone from strength to strength over the past few decades and today they are one of the most well known independent bottlers around.
Rock Oyster is one of the company’s most popular blends, highlighted by the fact that there are so many iterations of it, with the most recent being a cask strength release.
Starting with the original, we find a blend that is brimming with maritime flavours. It has been created using malts from various islands, including Islay, Jura, Orkney and Arran.
It opens with big notes of peat smoke and sea air, lots of salt and iodine. It is a truly seaside dram.
Apples and pears also come in to give a nice bite to the overall flavour, wit a slightly tart sweetness.
The palate is packed with more seaside notes, and the salt is the perfect complement to the earthiness of the peat.
It is a really fresh and natural feeling malt. The fruit is joined by slight peppery spice and some malted grains. The body is mellow and gentle.
It finishes with a big note of iodine and sea salt and a lasting smoky warmth.
This 18 Year Old expression of Rock Oyster is a limited edition bottling of the original.
Again, it has been crafted using malts from Arran, Jura, Orkney and Islayand overflows with seaside notes.
The nose begins with sweet citrus peels and a dull, luxurious peat smoke. Sea salt crystallises around this with a real tangy flavour to it.
Oil and brine come in next, and wrap themselves around the zesty flavours of the citrus fruits
The palate has more of an oak focussed flavour and mirrors the warming peppery spice of the original.
Lots more sea air, with iodine, sea weed and a brisk saltiness combines to perfectly complement the peat smoke.
The oak is sweet with lots of vanilla and a slight dessert quality to it. it brings in a wonderful depth that sits beside the earthier flavours very well.
The peat finishes everything off and wraps all the sweetness up in a smoky finish.
Released in August 2018, this is the latest celebration of the Rock Oyster blends. It has been matured in American oak casks and is bottled at 56.1%.
Chris Leggat, CEO of Douglas Laing says, “It’s been two years since the launch of Rock Oyster Cask Strength and we’re delighted to now respond to customer demand with this new limited release. It’s true what they say – calm seas never made skilled sailors – nor did they make monstrously maritime Whiskies! This is a spectacularly stormy, rich and earthy dram that fans of Rock Oyster’s coastal spirit will undoubtedly relish.”
The nose opens with warming notes of oranges and lemons, with big notes of salt and peat smoke. Oil and iodine also come through.
The palate is packed with malted barley and wheat, with oak wood and vanilla. There is a hint of caramel smoothness in the mouth feel.
Smoke and peat come through really strongly here, with a rich and elegant quality to them.
Citrus peels and vanilla abound here. They go especially well with the big smoke flavours.
The finish is bright and earthy, with toasted oak, smoke and lots of sea salt.
This is a dram worth trying whether you like the previous releases of Rock Oyster or not. It is an exceptional malt.