Independent Scotch Whisky distillers, blenders and bottlers, Douglas Laing & Co, today unveil a new Limited Edition: Rock Island Mezcal Cask Finished Island Malt Scotch Whisky.

Strictly limited to no more than 1,500 bottles, the new release is said to be “perfect for summer” and carries vibrant green, blue and orange colourways complemented by warm gold foil detail. Bespoke agave plant illustrations feature alongside the classic Rock Island oyster, symbolising the meeting of contrasting cultures: “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 marriage of Single Cask Single Malts distilled only on Scotland’s Whisky islands of Orkney, Arran, Jura and Islay. The resulting spirit is said to “boast a complex balance of maritime flavours, revealing waves of sweet, salty, smoky and earthy notes”, and accordingly has been decorated with a number of high-profile industry awards over the years, including Double Gold at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition.

In creating the new Rock Island Mezcal Cask Finish, the family firm subjected the classic Rock Island recipe to a secondary maturation period in ex-Mezcal casks. Meaning “oven-cooked agave”, Mezcal 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.

Commenting on the new innovation, Brand Manager Rebecca Fennell said:

“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. 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. The resulting spirit has exceeded all of our 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 is offered without added colouring or chill-filtration, and at a high alcohol strength of 46.8%. It is expected to retail at £60.00 / €70.00 and will be available from specialist retailers and online across Europe, Americas and Asia Pacific.

Tasting notes:

Nose: Opens with Scottish sea salt and roasted Mexican agave balanced by tangy gooseberries and fresh floral notes.
Palate: Barley-sweet and super smooth moving to an earthy, light smoked style alongside barbecued meats.
Finish: Oceanic and elegant, with citrus fruits, juicy blackberries and honeycomb.