My first gin review. (Rock Rose)


I’ll be honest here. I’ve never reviewed a spirit before never mind a gin.

This is very much a beginners view of a drink I know very little about.

Rock Rose it’s self is situated only about 20 miles away from where I was schooled in a village named Dunnet. This is a village which has a wonderful beach and some amazing scenery.

The gin is fantastically presented in a clay bottle with a textured label and flavoured with Juniper, Rose root, Sea Buckthorn, Rowan berries, coriander seed and verbena (and more).

I was able to get this gin from the Store House in John O’ Groats but it’s available in the Hammerton store and whisky shop in Aberdeen (other shopping options may vary) is also an option.

Now on to the review…(If I make any glaring errors please tell me!)


  • Neat: The nose has Juniper, Red currant, Sea Buckthorn, a medicinal sweet quality followed by an iodine sea salt note.
  • On tasting it neat: there are notes of juniper and red fruit, this is followed by some soft spice, soft sugar and sea salt notes.
  • Adding a small amount of water: The nose opens up slightly allowing the Sea Buckthorn and Juniper notes to come flooding through, this is followed by confectionery sugar, sea salt and now some citrus orange peel notes.
  • On tasting the sweetness is now a lot more prominent followed by the red berry and juniper notes this finishes in a dry sea weed & iodine taste which rounds out the flavours nicely.
  • With tonic water (in this case Fever Tree) On the nose there is a lot more citrus, this almost makes the juniper more prominent, there are now notes of orange peel, lemon rind, cardamom, a creamola foam sweetness and red berries. The sea side notes have now been pushed to the peripheries.
  • On tasting with tonic the orange is now much more prominent but in this case it leans toward a blood orange flavour. This is followed by red berries, soft spice, juniper, oak, sugar sweetness and drying sea salt notes which in my view accentuate the sweetness,

This gin is more than worth it’s price tag. It strikes a fine balance between flavours which make this extremely accessible to novices like myself and more hardened gin drinkers.

I hope this was as fun to read as it was challenging to write!

Any feedback is more than welcome!



Brewhouse 175 – Dunkel (Home Brewed Blog 1)


As I’ve only just gotten back in to writing I thought I’d try some things that I haven’t tried before.

This is a complete first and a little bit of an ethical issue for me… This beer is made by a friend (Dave) who also lets me brew with him every so often. His accomplice (Paul) is head of the bar I frequent…

I promise to try to remain objective even if it excommunicates me from my own social circle!

Having been present at the brew day I know how much effort both have put in. Dave, being a fantastically talented brewer and Paul with his love of German beer both want this beer to as close to the standard of this style of beer as possible.

So on to the difficult bit….reviewing.


The beer has a large billowing off white (coffee stained) head which dissipates to a thin film quickly. The beer itself is jet black with ruby tinges around the edge of the glass.

The nose is initially deep roasted malt, coffee and dark chocolate. This is followed by sweet foam sweet (Haribo milk bottle) notes, clove and light brown sugar aromas.

The taste is a balance of milky coffee, clove and brown sugar. In the background there are tannin notes, German yeast, a slight kick of noble hops and ripe plum. The finish of the taste is a delightful balance of sweet and bitter berries!

The finish is slightly oily but dry.

In itself this beer reminds me of Sigtuna Brygghus – Black October itself one of my favourite German style beers!

It’s difficult to surmise a beer which you know well. It’s even more difficult when your friends have made it.

I hope this has remained objective!


Man overboard – Cromarty


It’s been a rather long time…but like the Cold War I’m back!

So: happy Christmas, New Year, Birthday, Bar Mitzvah & any other celebration or good thing you’ve had since I’ve been away!!

In the time I’ve had my career oriented break I’ve had a bit of time to look maybe slightly more objectively at the world of beer.

And the first beer I’m going to write about on my return illustrates a point beautifully! There are now in my opinion enough good European and UK based brewers making progressive or just plain awesome beer for that I wouldn’t have to look across the pond……… (although I still do).

Cromarty Brewing’s Man Overboard is exactly that. A well balanced light and hugely drinkable double IPA at 8.8%.


This picture may not quite do the colour of the beer any justice I can assure you it looks fantastic!!

The head is thin and white, almost a loose film of foam placed on top of the beer.

It’s a beautiful deep amber/orange colour with tiny bubbles of carbonation steadily making their way up the glass.

There are huge notes of pine resin and orange emanating from this glass. Over time notes of grapefruit and caramel follow with fresh herbal notes. The finish is a prickly bitter sweet note running around the edge of the tongue beckoning you to take another drink!

The taste is initially of caramel and huge pine notes. This is followed by notes of fresh herbs, citrus and bags and bags of American hops.

The beer is not as heavy as I would imagine a double IPA of 8.8% to be! This beer is light, eminently drinkable and refreshing!

As always it’s great to see local brewers produce beer like this!

Please pick this beer up if you find it!

I was able to pick it up from the fantastically named Deeside Drinks Emporium!

I will be back again soon!