Eleven Douglas Laing Single Malts
As a Douglas Laing Fellow (that’s basically a voluntary brand ambassador) I’m lucky enough to get sent quite a few samples from time to time, along with lots of other goodies. (What a great Christmas jumper for 2016!)
As such, I’ve had eleven samples sitting waiting to be enjoyed, so why not over the Christmas break sit back and do a multi review of them all?! Many are no longer available online, but you may find them on shop shelves when looking so the notes are still useful as a reference. Also, it goes to show the quality of stock that Douglas Laing have access to, so even if a bottle I have reviewed isn’t available any more, then you can be sure there’s a very similar replacement ready to purchase.
So, let’s get
Info: Provenance – Glenallachie – 7 Years Old. 46% abv. (Cask #10986 I think)
Colour: Ripe straw.
Nose: Malty, flinty, chalky. Hints of white wine fruit sweetness.
Palate: Fairly full and oily, quite spicy, slightly warm to hot. Sweet and malty with gentle green fruits.
Finish: Medium length finish with a warm feeling on your chest and wood tannins left on your palate along with green orchard fruits.
Thoughts: For around £38, this dram shows you can find good quality whisky at a younger age than you may usually pick. At this age it’s nice and easy to get the distillery character before it’s lost to too much ageing in wood.
Info: Provenance – Macduff – 8 Years Old. 46% abv. (Cask #11187 I think)
Colour: Very light and clear, just a hint of yellow.
Nose: Very malty with sweet young cereal notes, quite lovely.
Palate: Nice and easy, quite buttery and tinged with spices, honey and green fruits.
Finish: Fairly short in length, but a nice warmth on your chest with a little fizziness, some green fruit and cereal, with a bit of oak spice prickle.
Thoughts: Same as above, for around £33 you get a great reminder of what whisky should be without too much wood aging, how most people used to drink it (8yo was old!).
Info: Provenance – Mortlach – 8 Years Old. 46% abv. (Cask #11075 I think)
Colour: Light and bright, white wine.
Nose: A nose that makes me smile, packed with cracked nuts and malt.
Palate: Slightly musty with those nut tastes coming through nicely. Sweet, slightly spiced with the peel of red and green apple skins.
Finish: A little more spiced as you swallow, in a good way. The finish is longer than I expected; sweet, slightly dusty and mossy.
Thoughts: An impressive, young whisky this one, highly recommended, for around £40 it’s one to seek out.
Info: Provenance – Benrinnes – 11 Years Old. 46% abv. (Cask #10965 I think)
Colour: Light yellow, early morning sunlight.
Nose: Gentle malts, a small handful of nuts, musty wine sweetness, hints of oak.
Palate: Medium sweet, toffee caramels, small amount of spice backing it up. Red apples and hints of ginger and a dollop of heathery honey.
Finish: The palate morphs into the finish and carries on much the same, ginger spices linger and build on a reasonably long finish with oak backing things up at the end.
Thoughts: For around £45 and still available on Douglas Laing‘s website. I once had a Benrinnes that I didn’t like, and this very much helps to restore it as a good whisky in my mind.
Info: Old Particular – Glenrothes – 12 Year Old.48.4% abv. (Cask #11170 I think)
Colour: Rich dark golden, very autumnal, burnt orange.
Nose: Powerful and heavily sherried, red berries and hints of tar. A malty dougheyness in the background with touches of herbs in it. Air works well to open it up a little and allow out other sweetness.
Palate: Lovely, thick, rich and oily on the palate, quite chocolatey and sweet which dominates more than the Sherry you’d expect, a nice and welcome twist. Light to medium spices, Sherry dark red fruits and general wintery goodness.
Finish: The finish is slightly fizzy and well fruited; it’s long and rich.
Thoughts: For around £60 this is fantastic whisky… well sherried Glenrothes is usually good, and this certainly is, definitely recommended if you can find it.
Info: Xtra Old Particular – Benrinnes – 30 Year Old. 57% abv. (Cask #10709)
Colour: Light gold, summery straw.
Nose: Slightly coaly smoke comes to your nose, possibly from cask char. Packed with cracked, damp nuts and quite strong alcohol vapour.
Palate: Although the nose is strong, and the alcohol strength is high, this is fairly smoothly introduced, but it does build with heat and spices before long and no doubt a drop of water is called for. There’s a balanced sweetness, the age showing production techniques with enough variation in them to keep things interesting.
Finish: The finish peters out fairly quickly, but then lasts for a long time after that, with cereal and old polished woods lasting out.
Water: A drop of water brings out more cereal notes and coal tar wisps.
Thoughts: A treat of a Benrinnes that has been well aged, but is still very lively and full of flavour. Still available to buy at Douglais Laing, £277.38.
Info: Xtra Old Particular – Glen Grant – 30 Year Old. 59.1% abv. (Cask #11009)
Colour: Autumn gold with rusty tints.
Nose: Spirity at this high strength. Behind the alcohol however there is gentle well aged Speyside goodness, autumn fruits, malt, nuts, cream and old oak notes.
Palate: Quite hot but sweet, with summer citrus fruits showing through nicely leading to notes that aren’t too far from fruit gums (chewy fruit sweets/candies).
Finish: The finish is quite long, and fairly dry, but not dominated by tannin. Malt and a sweet/savoury oak lasts out at the end for a long time.
Water: Brings out much more of a waxed oak wood note, increases sourness. On the palate it makes it easier to drink and brings out some green apple tones.
Thoughts: Around £245 at the time, maybe you’ll find one somewhere! But as one of only 36 bottles you’ll be lucky. It’s a lovely old malt, full of flavour and vigour… You can see why Glen Grant 18yo has come second in Jim Murray’s 2017 Whisky Bible, they produce some great whiskies that can be slightly overlooked.
Info: Xtra Old Particular – Highland Park – 21 Year Old. 52.6% abv. (Cask #10897)
Colour: Light sunny gold.
Nose: Light summery and gently peated. Slightly heathery with a little honey and some citrus and lemon notes.
Palate: Nice and thick on the palate, easy at first but with heat and spices soon building. Behind them you soon find honeyed malt sat amongst puffs of those heather moor notes, and some saltiness. Hints of oak after a while.
Finish: Light, slight hints of leather, malty sweetness, hints of peat. Christmas spices and creamy caramels (Werther’s Originals?). Fairly long, hot finish.
Water: I didn’t, but it probably could do with a drop to lessen the heat.
Thoughts: At around £160 that’s got to be a good price for a 21yo Highland Park, especially when compared to official bottling prices.
Info: Old Particular – Caol Ila – 19 Year Old. 51.5% abv. (Cask #10971)
Colour: Light straw.
Nose: Nice Islay nose, there’s coastal peat, touches of dying fire embers, gentle sea breeze and sweetness. At the back there’s a handful of herbs.
Palate: Lovely earthy, damp, dunnage warehouse mossyness to the palate, really enjoyable. It’s fairly easy on your palate from the start, with some spices building after a while, but working hand in hand with the moss.
Finish: The finish has a fresh element, before bringing in some chamois leather notes and then settling into a long burnt ember notes. Think BBQ on a beach. There a real cereal note left at the end, great stuff.
Thoughts: Around £90… and if it were still available I’d probably get a bottle, it’s really really good… I like to pretend I’m not a peat head any more, but I am.
Info: Old Particular – Bowmore – 16 Year Old – Feis Ile 2016. 48.3% abv. (Natural Cask Strength) (Cask #11107).
Colour: Ripe straw.
Nose: Lemony peat greats you nose, with plenty of ozone, sea breeze and some fairly fresh leather tones. After a while the lemon changes to orange.
Palate: Thick and oily with the citrus notes coming through and gentle peat backing everything up. Smooth and easy, slightly mossy with a drop of milk chocolate and a hint of burnt orange marmalade coming through.
Finish: Gentle and long, sweet and sumptuous, hints of the orange marmalade continuing into a slightly smoked ending. Blissful.
Thoughts: For £90 that’s a heck of a whisky… I’ve actually not written that many notes above, and that’s because I’m enjoying it too much, sometimes less it more! And the good news… it’s a (late) 90’s Bowmore, and no perfume notes to be seen, yippee. I love lower strength cask strength whiskies!
Info: Remarkable Regional Malts – Scallywag Cask Strength Batch No.2. 54.1% abv. Includes, amongst others, spirit distilled at Mortlach, Macallan and Glenrothes distilleries. 4800 bottles globally.
Colour: Rich warming golden sun, autumnal hints.
Nose: Rich, strong and full. Packed with sweet malts, handfuls of nuts and stewed fruits with vanilla custard.
Palate: Thick and rich, oily and sumptuous. It’s sweet and malty with spices that only build slowly when held on your tongue. There’s some nice oakiness amongst doughy malt and sweeter notes of stewed red fruits, red apples and cream.
Finish: The finish is very slightly herbal, followed by sweet malt and oak wood flavours backed up with some tannins and spices.
Thoughts: Really quite smooth for it’s high alcohol volume, which means it’s all the more enjoyable just as it is. Great relaxing whisky, and considering the high abv it’s a great price too. A drop of water works will to make it even smoother.
Available: Master of Malt – £48.69
Overall Thoughts: Favourite? Probably the Caol Ila, I love those mossy notes, nice peaty but light whisky. Overall however, another great selection from Douglas Laing continuing to show that they have access to great casks. There’s always more to come form them, so keep your eyes open for new releases.
Thanks to Douglas Laing for the samples which I’ve been saving up over time for this bumper post-Christmas post!
Comments or questions? Why not come and find me on twitter @steveprentice.