Rock Rose Citrus Coastal Edition is a love letter to the farthest shores of Scotland, and is exclusive to Craft Gin Club
Price: ~ £N/A
A more familiar brand comes to us from Craft Gin Club this August in the form of Rock Rose, but with an exclusive edition designed to evoke those feelings of being at the edge of the water on a windswept beach, far away from civilisation.
Claire and Martin Murray are the founders of Dunnet Bay Distillery, which sits on the northern tip of mainland Scotland (about ten miles from John o’ Groats). The two grew up in Caithness and even went to school together (though I think it’s such a small population that everyone does!), eventually forming a bond that saw them through attending separate universities, and careers that took them to France. It was the news that Spismith had won their battle with HMRC to establish a new distillery that brought the back.
Established in 2014, they exceeded their own expectations when it came to selling their gin, with batch 1 selling out on pre-order within 48 hours. Since then the distillery has grown, allowing them to fulfil another of their goals: to create jobs for the people of Caithness, and in 2019 they won Scottish Gin Distillery of the Year at the Scottish Gin Awards. Better than all of that, though, is the obvious love for their canine companions. Mr Mackintosh is the Distillery Apprentice and chief guest greeter, and Georgie, a.k.a The Boss (sadly departed), was the woofer who made sure they got things right from day one. It’s touches like this that really bring home the family feel of the distillery.
As with all of their gins, the bottle is ceramic with a white glaze. The label design is also the same for each gin, but with different colour combinations depending on the edition (blues and green in this case), including the wax seal on top. It’s an attractive Nouveau design, with trees on either side creating a canopy of leaves over the name of the gin, and hints as to the botanical profile of the gin around the bottom. In the middle is a little description of the production, above the framed edition name with a little description of the flavour. On the back is the story of the distillery and their collaboration with Craft Gin Club as well as the usual info. It’s a nice design, sadly limited in detail and colour by the production process, but elegant and easy to spot.
A beautiful fresh juniper leaps from the glass with quintessentially bright, zesty notes. There’s a definite hint of the sea there too with a sweet saltiness that absolutely evokes memories of breathing in deep gulps of sea air. There’s plenty of fresh lemon peel, mingling with the aromatic spices to give a lovely clean aroma, then a touch of sweet, rooty notes that provide a slight floral, earthy profile. It’s a fantastic smelling gin, complex but classic.
Neat, the gin is smooth and surprisingly warming with plenty of sweetness up front. I get lovely sour citrus flavours, but also salted caramel, and though you might think they would clash horribly, they really don’t. There’s a nice hit of cardamom too, always a winner for me, which leads to some pleasant earthy tones helping to balance the bright citrus at the fore. Big juniper notes undulate throughout, like the waves on a beach. It’s well rounded and has plenty of flavour.
Water softens the brighter citrus notes, as well as the initial sweetness, paving the way for the earthier tones to come through. There’s still a little sweet, salty flavour around the edges, but the middle ground here is a little more grounded and herbaceous for me. It’s different, but still wonderfully well balanced and full of flavours.
Finally, a G&T (3:1 Franklin & Sons Indian Tonic with dried grapefruit and goji berries to garnish). The result is absolutely wonderful, though it’s a little difficult to catch the flavours here! There’s so much going on, with sweet citrus peel first to appear, bursting over the tastebuds. It’s immediately followed up by a fleshy aromatic citrus sitting alongside a little cardamom which all brings out the quinine in the tonic nicely. Beneath it all is a nice earthy juniper that rounds it off to make a fantastic G&T to my tastes, though I can imagine it being possibly a little sweet for some.
Rock Rose Citrus Coastal Edition is a wonderful gin with a very classic profile, yet it’s somehow a little different at the same time. It’s full of flavour and does a wonderful job of adapting to the addition of water and tonic to open up in different ways. I can see it working in a variety of drinks and very much look forward to trying them! I’ve no idea whether it’ll ever be released beyond CGC, but I’d definitely recommend it.
Remove half a feather if you prefer very dry gin
Rock Rose Citrus Coastal edition is only available through Craft Gin Club (at the time of writing)
All reviews are of the author’s personal collection, bought and paid for by the author, unless otherwise stated.