Rock Oyster is the Islands components in the Remarkable Regional Malts series from Douglas Laing. It is a blended malt composed with maritime malts distilled on Orkney, Arran, Jura and Islay.
International Oyster Day was celebrated yesterday (5th of August), a perfect occasion to have a look at the Rock Oyster range, as Douglas Laing encourages you to sprinkle it over oysters to give them an interesting twist.
(46,8%, Douglas Laing 2016)
Nose: coastal, briney notes and dried seaweed up front. Some herbal notes (rosemary) and light hints of ashy peat. Green apple. Clean notes of white bread and cereals.
Mouth: again quite salty, with liquorice, raw peat and hints of grapefruit on a second level. Youngish and slightly austere but it works well in this context. Oats, crushed peppercorns, just a hint of green fruits and smoke in the background.
Finish: medium long, kippery and zesty, with pepper and ashes.
A nice piece of blending, with elements of each island taking the lead at some point. A good introduction to the style. Around € 40 from Master of Malt or TWE for instance.
We continue with the second batch of Rock Oyster Cask Strength. A scoop, as this will only be available in stores shortly.
Rock Oyster Cask Strength (56,1%, Douglas Laing 2018, Batch #2)
Nose: this one seems punchier, more spirity and at the same time younger, fruitier, with less of the typical briney notes. There’s candied lemons and oranges, as well as plenty of iodine. Liquorice candy. Plain oats. Minerals and sandy beaches.
Mouth: again very malty and young, although the added strength brings out more saltiness now too. Salmiak and ginger. Citrus zest. Frankly herbal notes too (sage, clove). There’s a vague fruitiness underneath (yellow apples and pineapple maybe).
Finish: long, salty and bittersweet with peaty touches.
Not bad, but I don’t see a real advantage in this one: it’s rougher and more narrow. At 46.8% it already packs a lot of punch anyway. The first batch is available from Master of Malt or TWE for instance.
And now the limited edition 18 year old variation of Rock Oyster, introduced last year.
Rock Oyster 18 yo
(46,8%, Douglas Laing 2017)
Nose: rather different. This starts on stewed fruits (peaches, lemons, oranges) and tobacco notes. A sweeter style of peat, which combines nicely with the acidity of the fruits and the (softer) brine. Light vanilla and hints of spicy oak. Nicely balanced.
Mouth: rounded, with more creamy vanilla alongside the mineral notes and citrus zest. Well integrated peat, hints of seaweed and ashes. Green apples. A little mint.
Finish: long, a bit more dryness of the oak now, as well as fruity notes and dazrk chocolade.
This is really well put together: this lively blended malt finds a balance of the Islands character with roundness from its age. Available from Master of Malt or TWE for instance.