Scotland’s Douglas Laing & Co recently unveiled its limited edition Rock Island Mezcal Cask Finished Island Malt Scotch Whisky.
With only 1,500 bottles, the summer release is clad in green, blue and orange colors with gold foil detail. Agave plant illustrations are juxtaposed with the Rock Island oyster, symbols of two contrasting cultures which the independent bottler noted comes “from the idyllic shores of Scotland’s west coast to the sun-drenched Mezcal distilleries located in the heart of Mexico.”
The original Rock Island Malt Scotch Whisky is a blend of single cask single malts distilled on Scotland’s whisky islands of Orkney, Arran, Jura and Islay.
A statement from Douglas Laing notes that the resulting spirit “boasts a complex balance of maritime flavors, revealing waves of sweet, salty, smoky and earthy notes.”
Creating the new Rock Island Mezcal Cask Finish, the family-owned bottler gave the classic Rock Island recipe a secondary maturation period in ex-Mezcal casks.
Mezcal, which means “oven-cooked agave,” is a Mexican spirit derived from the agave plant. The heart of the plant is first cooked underground, then the smoked juices are left to ferment, before being double distilled and matured in oak casks to create the final, smoky spirit.
Douglas Laing Brand Manager Rebecca Fennell talked about the new Mezcal-finished whisky.
“In 2019, an amendment to the Scotch Whisky Technical File was published, and for the first time ever, casks which had previously held Mezcal were permitted for the maturation of Scotch whisky,” she said. “Rock Island has a naturally smoky character, so for us, it was a fascinating experiment to subject the classic American oak-aged recipe to a secondary maturation in these exotic casks.”
She said the resulting spirit exceeded all of their expectations. “It’s retained that archetypal Scottish sea salt and honeycomb quality, yet taken on an unmistakable roasted agave note, running to a signature lightly smoked finish.”
In line with the Douglas Laing family’s “as natural as it gets” ethos, Rock Island Mezcal Cask Edition has no added coloring or chill-filtration, and clocks in at 46.8% ABV. It retails for £60.00/€70.00 and will be available from specialist retailers and online across Europe, Americas and Asia Pacific.
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