Douglas Laing Rock Oyster Review and Notes – NAS the right way

The NAS rage continues as more NAS whiskies are announced. Talisker Skye, Glenlivet Founders Reserve (which actually replaces the Glenlivet 12yo in some markets!) and more. The NAS topic was already discussed in length on Whisky Gospel and on other blogs but there’s one aspect I didn’t see covered – what about Independent bottlers?

As the demand to single malts soar, even in the current market climate, the stock of aged barrels dwindle down. Distilleries have access to their own warehouse and therefor release NAS whiskies so they can have flexible usage of their own stock and use more young casks instead of aged casks. But Independent bottlers don’t have such free access (unless they pay for it) and they too don’t want to overuse their aged casks which they bought when prices weren’t as high as nowadays. The solution? Vatted malt releases – stick with malts, mix different casks from different distilleries and release a new whisky to satisfy the market demands!

We’ve seen many Vatted malt releases over the last 2 years, with three of them coming from Douglas Laing with the latest one being an Islands themed malt named Rock Oyster.

Rock Oyster promise lots of maritime, sweet peat, smoke, honey and pepper. Shall we put it to the test?

Douglas Laing Rock Oyster (46.8%, £35.95/43.49 )

Douglas Laing Rock OysterNose: Creamy malt, chimney smoke, peat, sweet lemon cheesecake, sea air. All in all very balanced and cheesy.

Palate: Sweet peat, smoke, ashes, brine. A surprising touch of new spirit note, lemon peels and honey.

Finish: Short Medium length, linger smoke and peat, sweet honey,

Thoughts: Another solid offering from Douglas Laing. I daresay that I like it better than Timorous Beastie as the profile here of peat, maritime and malt is more to my likeness. It’s how NAS whisky should be done – solid whisky sold for decent price (in other words: don’t overprice it!).


4 thoughts on “Douglas Laing Rock Oyster Review and Notes – NAS the right way

  1. Ol' Jas

    Given that NAS is a label type—not a whisky type—how is it possible to do it right? Or as you put it, why is this the way it (NAS) “should be done”? Wouldn’t it be better to have this exact same whisky in a label that tells us how long it was aged?
    (While we’re at it, I’d also like to know what cask types it all came from—refill bourbon?—and from which exact distilleries—Arran, Jura, HP, and Bowmore? But let’s start with the age, please.)

    1. Yoav @ Whisky Gospel Post author

      Every distillery is blending their whisky (except for single casks). Since we were thought that age matters, young age is a thing to be shamed of (although we see thisbis eroding lately with many young single casks releases). As for all the info we’d like to see, the truth is there’s no space on the label for all of it!


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