A single malt whisky with a feelgood factor and a mission to make whisky more welcoming – that’s the starting point in the journey of River Rock, a new single malt Scotch whisky, which is launching its first limited edition batch of 100 bottles in November 2020.
River Rock is the brainchild of Mark Geary, Laura Anderson and Bill Farrar, three friends from Fife with more than 70 years’ combined experience shaping some of Scotland’s finest single malt brands including The Macallan, Highland Park and The Glenrothes. On a personal level, I have worked with all three of them during my time at Edrington in Scotland and it is great to see this product release.
Singularly Wonky Whisky
River Rock has a distinctively wonky tactile glass bottle, which is made from coloured glass that normally goes to waste, and a sweeter, smooth taste, River Rock is designed to give people a new more accessible choice when it comes to single malt whisky.
Inspired by a passion for the outdoors and a commitment to protect the environment, River Rock is aiming to follow its own path rather than conform to tradition.
To put its whisky on the radar of people beyond traditional whisky circles, River Rock is partnering with a group of like-minded small Scottish brands for its launch; ethical adventure company, Ocean Vertical; sustainable clothing company, Meander; small-batch coffee roastery, Common Coffee; and bike-fitting studio and café space, Bramblers.
The 100 prototype bottles of River Rock Batch #1 (priced at £35) will be available on the River Rock website via a ballot. From 23rd October, anyone interested in buying a bottle can pre-order one on the River Rock website at https://riverrockwhisky.org/shop1/ with those successful notified by 14th November if they are successful.
Customers of River Rock’s partners will have the opportunity to win a bottle through social media competitions, while each partner will also be given an exclusive allocation of bottles for their customers in the ballot.
In addition, the remainder of available bottles will be sold through the prestigious retailer, Berry Brothers & Rudd, at their Pall Mall shop and website during early November.
Anyone who misses out on a bottle from Batch #1 will be given priority to buy a bottle from Batch #2, which is due to be released in early December.
As part of their commitment to the environment, the River Rock team has also formed a partnership with The John Muir Trust. For every one bottle of River Rock sold they will plant one tree on Schiehallion, Scotland.
The team behind River Rock also state that British consumers drink more American brands than Scotch, preferring the sweeter flavour profile and more relaxed and accessible attitude. Knowing that the traditional look and strong taste of Scotch single malts can be off-putting for many, the founders of River Rock have created a sweeter, smooth Scotch single malt and designed a distinctively ‘wonky’ bottle, which celebrates individuality rather than conforming to tradition.
The team spent three years finding the perfect single malt which met their criteria of being gentle and welcoming on the nose with a smooth, sweet taste and a hint of spicy oak on the finish.
The flavour profile and taste comes from the whisky being taken from higher up the copper still during distillation than other single malts and from the spirit being matured in ex-Bourbon barrels. The resulting whisky is smooth and doesn’t have the aggressive aroma or aftertaste that can be off-putting to some; it’s deliberately designed to appeal as much to gin and bourbon drinkers as single malt connoisseurs, and to be enjoyed straight up or with a mixer.
The team knew that they wanted the bottle to be as unique and effortless as the whisky. Inspired by the powerful, yet effortless flow of a river, the bottle features smooth ridges running up and down its sides. Towards its base, the bottle has a distinctive groove running around its middle, making the bottle feel as good as it looks and providing a more rewarding pouring experience.
As part of their commitment to waste reduction, the asymmetrical bottle is made using the coloured glass created when glass makers change glass colour. The bottles in future batches will come in a range of shades of colour from blue, black, green or clear, making each one unique.
The bottle is 100% recyclable, and the brand also offers a refill service.
The trio of founders share a love of single malt and are driven by a determination to make it accessible to more people. They also share a passion for the outdoors, beautiful design and leaving the planet fitter for future generations.
Mark Geary says “We all love single malt whisky, but we’ve seen how its idiosyncrasies and traditions can put a lot of people off. Too often, single malt can be hard work for someone new to it – it can taste too harsh and the image can be too elitist.”
“River Rock is the antithesis of all that. We want single malt whisky to be enjoyed and not endured. The bottle we’ve created is designed to be eye-catching and feel good to hold, while the single malt is effortless to enjoy.” Mark Geary
“At the same time, we want to use our experience and energy to make a positive contribution to the world. Laura, Bill and I all share an appreciation for the great outdoors and understand how fortunate we are to live in such a great place.
“We want to do our bit to leave the planet in a better place for future generations and that’s why we use batches of different-coloured glass that usually goes to waste and our bottles are 100% recyclable. It’s also why we’ve teamed up with The John Muir Trust to plant a tree in Scotland for every bottle we sell.”
JOHN MUIR TRUST
The John Muir Trust is a conservation charity based in Pitlochry dedicated to the experience, protection and repair of wild places around Scotland and the UK