Jim McEwan has really shaken up the whiskey world in his decade or so at Bruichladdich. Rocks is one of his new products, along with Peat, and Waves. Peat is smokey peat monster. Waves is buttery fat and sweet. Rocks strides between and manages to be something unique and something, in my opinion, very true to the original aspect of Bruichladdich: a sweeter, fruitier, more harmonious take on briny iodiny smokey Islay malt.
In the glass, Rocks is golden with a lovely peachy rosy glow. Rocks is aged for several months in French red wine casks which McEwan says accounts for the color. Aroma is delicate and dry with iodine, pork rind, dry oats, maritime brine, and a mineral tang. It smells like rocks on the sea shore. First sip shows a huge and unexpected (from the nose) explosion of honeyed cereal sugars with a midpalate expansion of oak vanilla, blackberry, and red fruits. The finish is long with smoky notes and anthracite char joining the honeyed cereal sugar red fruit medley with some oak resin tannins unfolding at the very end. It's a beguiling flavor profile, reminiscent of the Port Charlotte PC6-8 monsters, but less intense (and minus the peat), less proof, and far less expensive. It captures a measure of their intensity of flavor and maritime brine meets honeyed malt splendor. There's no age on Rocks' label. McEwan says its a blend of young single malts ranging from 6-9 years old. That's another way it's like the Port Charlotte offerings.