Rock Island Sherry Edition 46.8% ABV (Douglas Laing).

rock island sherry cask
douglas laing

Rock Island Sherry Edition is a marriage of Single Cask Single Malts distilled on the revered islands of Islay, Arran, Jura and Orkney, matured exclusively in Spanish Sherry casks. Bottled at 46.8% alcohol strength, this maritime Malt is proudly offered without colouring or chill-filtration ensuring the Whisky is “as natural as it gets”.

Douglas Laing

Appearance

Damp straw in colour, with a thick swirl line on my Copita glass, that drops very slow syrupy thick legs. 

Nose

To say it’s peated would be an understatement lol, yes lots of peat that’s very nicely mixed with tinned peaches, lemon tarts, some menthol, and a dusty caramel initially. 

More time and the peat seams to become stronger, and germoline is slowly coming through. The evergreen boughs I get sometimes are here, along with dunnage, and wood polish.

Palate

The mouthfeel is quite nice, and the peat is now mixing with ash, and sherry spiciness, it’s not overpowering, they’re all holding each other in balance a the moment. Red berries in the form of cranberries are swirling about, bringing a little dryness. The caramel from the nose is moving into chocolate, black pepper and cinnamon with cumin are bring super spicy tones. 

More time in the glass and the peat is becoming more of a barbecue smoke, there’re light botanical flavours also. Digging deep into the palate and I’m definitely getting sweetness in the form of Bakewell tarts, cherry included. Right at the end of the bulk of the palate I’m getting some tannins, high cocoa content dark chocolate. 

Finish

The finish is medium in length in general, the peat and some spice do linger a little longer. Eventually more fruit comes through, unusual for me, grapefruit, mango, and orange zest close the dram.

My thoughts

I can’t say iv’e tried any of these bottling’s from Duncan Laing, iv’e seen them around but never got to try one, until now. It’s actually nice to come to a whisky with absolutely no expectation, good or bad, so i just dived right in.

Before i’d even gotten the glass to my nose the peat was everywhere, literally, and it’s a huge dollop of the stuff too. The peat changed also during the experience, straight peat, then slightly medicinal, finally to become more barbecue smoke, and it stays right through the dram. I’m sure the ashiness is Highland park whisky, and i think Jura whisky plays a large part too.

The whole thing has been blended together very nicely, each element is clear to taste, but they marry together well too. The peat isn’t the only thing here, plenty of other aromas and flavours come through with the development, the sweet Cherry Bakewell tart was particularly pleasant for me, it balanced the peat so well, but i didn’t find it to be a sherry spice bomb personally.

If you love your peat plus extras this comes in at around the £40 mark and is definitely a lot of flavour for the money, i’d very happily have a bottle.


A big thank you goes out to my Twitter whisky friend Sean for sending out this generous sample, you can give him a follow on twitter using the button below, along with Douglas Laing and us.

Bottle image – Home of Malts

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