Rock Island? At first I was a bit confused. Douglas Laing already has the Rock Oyster brand, so what could this be about? A bit of googling made everything a bit more clear. According to this little tidbit on Scotchwhisky.com, Rock Island is a new name for Rock Oyster, “after feedback from global markets who felt oysters were too much of a polarising food.”
I mean, sure, I’ll buy that. Some folk hate oysters, and if I were one them, I probably wouldn’t buy a whisky either if it was named after something I found disgusting. But what to do now about the people that detest rock islands? Choices, choices…
All kidding aside, I’m glad to see new additions to the Rock Oyster/Rock Island line-up. It’s probably my favourite of the Remarkable Regional Malts. Beside a new 21-year-old that I’ll review later, there’s this new Rock Island 10 Years Old.
Rock Island 10 Years Old (46%, Douglas Laing, 2019)
Nose: Young and very sweet, with a big hit of vanilla, but also bitter lemon peel, dried seaweed, orris root and very soft wood smoke. A bit of pickled ginger also, as well as mush bananas. Taste: There’s licorice here, and it has a very earthy quality to it. The inherent sweetness is here again, mainly vanilla. Some straw and hay also. Subtle wood smoke and chalk. A touch of white pepper as well. Finish: Lingering smoke. A light minerality.
A good new entry into the Rock Island pantheon. It offers a nice complexity, without ever getting too complicated, get it?