Rock Island Sherry Edition Scotch Review

By Alex Southgate

Grade: B+

One thing that fascinates me about whisky is why drinkers go for a certain bottle. It’s quite obvious that reviews are incredibly important to some, (which is a good thing or  The Whiskey Reviewer and others would be a bit redundant,) to others it might come down to a new expression from their favorite distillery. Price can play a big part in this too. Those without jangling pockets will want something inexpensive, but tasty, and this can work the other way too, though we have to remember that expensive and good are not always on the same page.

So what about me, then? Well, I have noticed more that a fancy box or a nicely shaped bottle can be just enough to make me pull it off the shelf and buy it. This is exactly the reason why I bought Rock Island: Sherry Edition. This small batch expression from independent bottler Douglas Laing is a vatted malt with some real depth. Rock Island Sherry Edition blends single cask malts from Islay, Arran, Orkney, and Jura. This whisky finished it’s maturation in specially selected Spanish Sherry casks to help with its signature taste.

As mentioned, this is also a limited edition bottle, so if you want to see what this expression has to offer you’ll need to do it sooner than later.

The Scotch
Visually this is a really appealing whisky all round. The labelling is bright and inviting white still keeping Rock Island’s signature maritime feel. In the bottle, this vatted malt is a rich amber color, and that golden hue carries over to the glass in the pour. In the glass, Rock Island has legs and you might expect a velvety finish. This is more of a biting whiskey, though, so quickly breaks initial expectations.

The nose is floral and spicy with woody undertones. One notable scent is of almonds, this for me is important as this is something that carries over to the taste.

This is a fairly complex whisky. On one hand, Rock Island is spicy and salty. The salt, for me is the first thing you notice on your palette. The warmth of spices is what lingers, coating the mouth with ginger and cinnamon. The central flavor for me though, was marzipan and cherries. This is quite a British analogy, so I’m sorry if I lose some of you here, but the first thing I said to my girlfriend when I tasted this blend was that it was like drinking liquid Cherry Bakewell pies.

Living in a little seaside town this whiskey conjures images of sitting in my warm house with a gale blowing outside. Rock Island is sea-spray, salt air, freezing evenings and fireside warmth. If you can imagine this and beautiful baking smells wafting from your kitchen you have this expression in a nutshell. I honestly just wish it was more than a limited edition; personally I could drink barrels of this whiskey and be very happy too.

The Price
Rock Island Sherry Edition comes in at about £45 per 70cl bottle. If you get lucky you might find it on offer online with a little discount.





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