- Brand: Douglas Laing
- ABV: 46.8%
- Batch: 11
This was the second whisky I tasted from the blind samples sent to a few of us by @fiddich1980 and it was the one that fooled me the most. Of course, I had sampled the wonderful Compass Box No Name just before this one, so my palate wasn't exactly calibrated.
First Tasting (Blind)
Neat from a Glencairn glass
- Nose: Light, bright, fruity, with a little grassiness in the mix. Red apples, strawberries, raspberries, cream. This is not familiar to me in any way, except for the grassy note that reminds me a bit of Highland Park, but I'm not really getting any smoke at all. With time, the fruits seem to get darker. Is there a Macallan component here? Dalmore maybe? No, I'm not getting oranges or cinnamon, so I don't think it's Dalmore. Perhaps some Glendronach, as the darker fruits come through.
- Palate: Medium-bodied, fruity, with some malty cereal notes, honey, a very slight soapy note. Glenrothes? Aberfeldy? I’m really no good at this blind tasting stuff.
- Finish: barley, chocolate, a little nuttiness (I want to say this is a nuttiness I recognize from Glen Garioch, but I can't be sure), gentle smokiness maybe, although it could be lingering smoke from the previous sample, more red fruits, some graham crackers. Lovely
- Best guesses: Glenrothes, Macallan, Glen Garioch, Glendronach, Highland Park
- First Tasting Rating: 85/100 points
So the reveal left me a bit sheepish, but the actual components are Arran, Jura, Laphroaig (rumoured), and Highland Park (rumoured).
This first blind tasting of Rock Oyster showed just how important context is. I had tasted Compass Box's No Name before this one, and the big Ardbeg smoke (the key component in No Name) and 48.9% ABV probably made me "blind" to the less prominent smoke in Rock Oyster.
Neat from a Highland Whisky Glass
- Nose : medium smoke and iodine that says "Laphroaig!", berry aromas, graham crackers, whipped cream. Reminds me of a dessert in the 1980s, when everyone smoked in their houses, even at children's parties. Delightful.
- Palate : medium bodied, creamy texture, red fruit, graham cracker crumb pie crust.
- Finish: smoky at first, developing to nuttiness (hazelnuts?), then strawberries and raspberries, and returning to the ashy, peat notes. A bit of chocolate lingering as the smoke hangs on.
This is an absolute treat. I like this a lot. It's more enjoyable with a "clean" palate. It's more well-rounded and balanced when I can detect the smoke, yet my original notes aren't that far off. Those tart raspberry and strawberry notes are still there, especially on the nose.
Second Tasting Rating: 87/100 points
I'd say the second rating is more reliable as it was done under clearer conditions. I would buy a bottle of this whisky without hesitation. It's interesting, hits the right notes for me, and is well-balanced.