It’s no secret that I’m curious about vatted malts (and no secret that I’m somewhat of a holdout on calling them “blended malts”, in compliance with the SWA’s decree). While this category was completely abandoned by the big corporations, the independent bottlers have definitely come into this category, and are in the midst of an “arms race” creating signature vatted malts to represent the different regions of Scotland and different styles of whisky.
As usual, the Douglas Laing Co. leads the pack, covering the last big whisky region (All but Campbeltown and the Lowlands) in their latest release, Rock Oyster. This brings the vatted malt collection to four with Big Peat representing Islay, Scallywag from Speyside, the Timorous Beastie from the Highlands and now Rock Oyster from the Islands (including Islay). This is a maritime blend with plenty of salt and peat and lots of character, that’s made by blending whiskys from Jura, Islay, Arran and Orkney.
Rock Oyster (46.8% ABV, NCF, NC)
Appearance: Pale gold, slow and thin legs leave behind some residue.
Nose: Smoky vanilla and coconut, peat and some new make youngness. Light spices come through together with some light citrus. The sea is on the nose bigtime with salt and a beach bonfire.
Palate: Peat with a sweet note, light pepper on the tongue, fresh fruit, youngish whisky with a touch of new make, and salt.
Linger: Salty on the tongue, spicy in the back of the throat, with an overall sweetness coming through on the medium length linger.
This vatted malt is a real busy-bee, with a lot going on there. The salt is very prominent and so is the peat. But there’s more going on there, which makes this expression very interesting and enjoyable, despite a clear youngness.
This is sort of what I would expect from from a young, unsherried and seriously peated Old Pulteney…
Official sample received from the Douglas Laing Co.