Friday, July 22, 2016


I didn't think I was being particularly creative when I came up with the name Rock Rose for my blog. Now suddenly I am finding the name popping up all over the place. But to find it in far north of Scotland was really quite a surprise. We were spending the night in John O' Groats, at the northern tip of Scotland, and leaving our dinner venue I spotted this sign on the door.

We didn't go to Scotland to buy whiskey......

 and we didn't go to drink whiskey...

 but we were certainly going to the Rock Rose distillery. And so the next day we pulled into the parking lot at the Dunnet Bay Distillery.

 My eyes turned immediately to the rock garden. When you have angular rocks like this it isn't the easiest thing to create a natural looking rock garden but the plants can make up for the difference. Eventually they will fill in and hide the sharp contours.

 Then we headed for the building, my eyes catching sight of the bottle of Rock Rose gin in the window.

 Stepping inside we met Martin who calls himself 'The Brains' of the business. Martin is a trained chemical engineer who gave up his position in the oil and gas industry to live in this faraway corner of Caithness and start a new career in distilling.
He has working alongside him several family members; Claire, his wife, his father and Claire's mother along with several others including Dr Hanna, the gardener. A real family affair.

We weren't able to take a full tour of the distillery because they were operating but I could stand to one side and get a good look at Elizabeth, the copper still.

And a few of the ingredients that are infused into the gin to make it Rock Rose. Among them, Rose Root, Rhodiola rosea, Juniper berry, sea buckthorn, rowan berries, blaeberries, cardamon, coriander and verbena. It took 18 months and 55 experiments to come up with the right combination of herbs.

Of course I wasn't going to leave here without a bottle of gin,

 a packet of the gin shortbread biscuits

 and David insisted on getting this. It is made from an old whiskey barrel stave.

Yesterday I hung it on the beam above the patio. The perfect spot protected from the elements.

We certainly enjoyed our visit to this distillery; the shortbread was delicious, the gin is yet to be tasted and I love my Rock Rose whiskey stave.


  1. How neat is that! I'm so glad your dear hubby insisted on getting that sign. It's perfect!
    So, are you tapping into the bottle or saving it?

  2. Love this! (the story -- haven't tried the gin) :)

  3. What a lovely find and how sweet of D to insist on the whiskey stave sign. I do enjoy a nice gin drink in the dog days of summer. Is the gin available only on Scotland? How were the biscuits?

  4. What a fun discovery! And you got to bring home a memento - or 2.

  5. Well that's just fabulous! Glad you happened upon them.

  6. Such a fun find.
    Love the sign. Very sweet of David to get it.

  7. What fun! And you can tell David that I love Rock Rose, the gardener/blogger, as well.