A TRIO of whisky experts with more than 70 years’ combined experience shaping some of Scotland’s finest single malt brands are launching a new brand in a move they say is aimed at “making whisky more welcoming”.

River Rock single malt Scotch whisky is the brainchild of three former Edrington directors, Mark Geary, Laura Anderson and Bill Farrar, who have worked on leading single malt whisky brands including The Macallan, Highland Park and The Glenrothes.

They said River Rock is designed to give people a “more accessible choice” when it comes to single malt whisky, hailing its “distinctively tactile glass bottles, which are made from coloured glass that normally goes to waste”, and the brand also offers a refill service.

It is claimed the brand challenges the “elitist image” that can sometimes be associated with malt whisky.

Said to be 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” and is to plant a tree for every recyclable bottle sold.

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It is partnering with a group of small Scottish brands including ethical adventure company, Ocean Vertical, sustainable clothing company, Meander, small-batch coffee roastery, Common Coffee, and bike-fitting studio and café space, Bramblers.

It is hoped this will “put its whisky on the radar of people beyond traditional whisky circles”.

The River Rock team said that as part of their commitment to the environment, it 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, Perthshire.

“We all love single malt whisky, but we’ve seen how its idiosyncrasies and traditions can put a lot of people off, said Mr Geary. “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.”

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He said: “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.

“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 per cent 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.”

The team spent three years finding the single malt which met its criteria to be “gentle and welcoming on the nose with a smooth, sweet taste and a hint of spicy oak”. 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”. It said 100 prototype bottles of River Rock Batch #1, at £35, will be available on the River Rock website via a ballot rom today.

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 allocation of bottles for their customers in the ballot.

The remainder will be sold through Berry Brothers & Rudd, at their Pall Mall shop and website during early November, and the second batch is due in December.