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Bruichladdich Rocks

ROCKS My Cradle

1 1092

@AboutChoiceReview by @AboutChoice

16th Sep 2010


  • Nose
  • Taste
  • Finish
  • Balance
  • Overall

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Distribution of ratings for this: brand user

Suppose that you would like something more interesting and assertive than a Speyside, but less overwhelming than tar in a bonfire. Well, Bruichladdich ROCKS is one of my favorite go-to, all-rounder malts.

ROCKS is part of the distiller’s Multi Vintage Malts seriies … per the distiller: A range of Designer Malts masterfully tailored by Jim McEwan for specific palates. From the distiller’s website, it appears that I am reviewing the “Rocks New” bottling, with the gray-scale/silver label. ROCKS has no age statement, and it is concocted from a range of several vintages, malting levels and cask types. Moreover, the component vintages are mixed together, and then further matured in French red wine casks.

The bottle label states that ROCKS is an unpeated Islay single malt with elegance and sophistication … and that it is a multi-dimensional bottling. I do agree with all of the distiller’s adjectives, but having so many other unpeated malts, if I had read the “unpeated” part in the label first, I might not have acquired it. But somehow my senses pick up an elegant and desirable balance of peat/smoke as one of the dimensions. And alas, the distiller’s website agrees with me, and claims that ROCKS is lighted peated. So stick to your noses and palates folks !

Bruichladdich bottles many expressions at 46%, which I feel adds to their potency, excitement and robustness. Most of my favorite go-to malts are bottled at 46%. ROCKS is also un-colored and un-chill-filtered, which adds a friendly dimension to it all. No water was added for this tasting.

Bottle Nose: Fairly potent deep sweetness, glue, little smokiness … very alluring.

Glass Nose: Exciting and pungent medicinal brininess and candy … maybe a bit of fruit … my kind of aroma for this type of mid-range malt … gives me that illusion of a Scottich sea.

Palate: Lively rush of deep sweet tangy, gluey, salty, then nuts and fruit, maybe a little caramel, followed by a good deal of mild almond smokiness. Very complex and balanced..

Finish: Warm medium tangy finish with a good-quality glue, and maybe cookies & vanilla, followed by a lasting aftertaste of pleasant almond smokiness.

Conclusion: ROCKS is everything I really like in medium-smoky, exciting single malt: a well-done balance of sweet effervescent tanginess and saltiness, infused with a light amount of pleasant and mild smoke. Currently I have found only three other malts in this category … can the reader think of some others ?

I am anticipating sampling the other expressions in this series, such as the WAVES, PEAT and Infinity. WAVES is said to be more highly peated, but I wonder if PEAT gets too close to the fire … at least for this mid-range category :-)

Although ROCKS would likely not be appreciated by a malty neophyte (maltyphyte?), it is a highly satisfying mid-range malt for the more seasoned explorer.

Rating 92, in this assumed category.

Related Bruichladdich reviews


WmRamsey commented

I'm working my way through a bottle, too. Have you tried it with ice? I only drink single malt neat, but decided for once to throw in ice because I read that Jim McEwan intended Rocks to be good on the, well ... rocks.

13 years ago 0

AboutChoice commented

Hi @WmRamsey, so that's why they call it "rocks" ! I am also neat when it comes to whisky, but just might give a bit of ice a try ... or better yet, those hi-tech non-disolving ice cubes. I have, however, tried Glenmorangie 10 chilled in the freezer with a splash of lemon juice ... delightful :-)

13 years ago 0

LeFrog commented

I think 'rocks' may refer to the the fact that the distillery was built using stones from the local beach.. or its shear proximity to the rocky shoreline, but it's just a guess :)

13 years ago 0

dbk commented

@LeFrog, actually @WmRamsey is right about this one: while it's true that McEwan's "inspiration" is "where the oldest rocks in Scotland meet the wild Atlantic ocean", the "rocks" pun is indeed in reference to drinking this whisky with ice. It is intended as a"Champagne-influenced single malt, aged in French wine casks that can be drunk on ice in summertime". (Quotations from the Bruichladdich website, bruichladdich.com/latestnewsarticles/…)

13 years ago 0

AboutChoice commented

OK, I’ll bite … I am trying ROCKS on ice ! But what does that mean: “on-ice” means that during the course of the enjoyment of the dram, you will experience a continuum of chilled dram to very-chilled and very-diluted dram. So on the onset, we have a cool and intriguing flavor profile … reminds me of the cold, briny sea in the coming months. But as we melt on, the profile remains, but gets weaker and colder … better drink up before the tide comes in … at least they bottled at 46% to give you a little more time. The on-ice taste and experience is certainly novel, but it is quite one-dimensional when compared to the warmer and neater experience without ice or water.

Alternatively, if you must, try it chilled, but without ice. Alas, I feel a little remorseful, and encourage you Not to try this at home.

13 years ago 0

gzus commented

This is an excellent choice, it has a delightful flavour and a kick like a mule. i absolutely love the stuff.

13 years ago 0

Dellnola commented

Just bought a bottle of this. Wonderful whisky, it really exceeded my expectations. I love that feeling of returning from the liquor store, trying your new purchase and thinking, money well spent.

12 years ago 0

Peatlover commented

this is one of my favourite Bruichladdich whiskies. I love it!!

12 years ago 0

wylcx commented

Great review. I'm now looking forward to opening my bottle of Bruichladdich ROCKS.

12 years ago 0

Kari commented

Ice cubes made with good bottled water....I hope.

11 years ago 0

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