In the far, northern reaches of the United Kingdom lies the Scottish county of Caithness. Known for its harsh weather, Caithness also plays host to some plants which thrive only in places like here. One of those is the rhodiola, also known as the arctic root, which played an important part in Northern European medical cultures. Rhodiola also appears in Rock Rose Gin.
Dunnet Bay Distillers, creators of Rock Rose Gin, are grounded in an ethos of tradition and sustainability. In 2020, they made headlines for selling their gin in fully recyclable pouches. But the gin has been around far longer than that.
First launched in 2014, it features two types of juniper: Bulgarian and Italian. Eighteen botanicals, five of which are grown and foraged for locally are vapor infused on a copper post still named Elizabeth.
Nose: Earthy florals, predominantly heather, sits atop herbaceous juniper, with green facets. Hints of berries, orris root and angelica root color in the edges.
Flavor: Juniper is the center piece on the palate. Green juniper early, with a bright, citrus-like life. Mid-palate is where the spice botanicals begin to come through. Earthy cardamom and coriander are highlighted by licorice and bilberry.
Finish: Round and complex, bilberry and baking spice complement juniper as Rock Rose Gin fades. Long, gently warm radiance in the back of the palate, where wisps of the heather from the nose return.
Rock Rose Gin is solidly contemporary in profile, but with plenty of traditional classic-style gin touches.
With its round flavor profile and pleasant mouthfeel, Rock Rose Gin is an ideal choice for gin-forward cocktails such as the Alaska Cocktail or Martini.
But it’s flexibility is admirable. It pairs well flavor-wise in a Negroni, though the botanicals can be overpowered. This might be a place to consider going 1.5 parts gin to equal of the rest. Flavor-wise, it’s worth the compromise as some of that beautiful mid-palate comes through to complement the Vermouth.
You can also dial up the floral by picking the right cocktail. Pairing it with Creme de Violette in an Aviation will help elevate the floral touches that are present, but in the background.
Overall, Rock Rose Gin
Complex and balanced, Rock Rose Gin is an expressive, flavorful and flexible contemporary style gin that doesn’t forget about juniper.
As long as you aren’t expecting literal rose aroma and flavor.