Bowmore 18 Year Old (Travel Retail) – 43% abv
Info: Bowmore recently unveiled three new duty-free exclusive malts, aged 10, 15 & 18 years, marking a return to age statements for the first time in five years. The 18yo is described as Deep and Complex, and has been matured in both Oloroso and Pedro Ximénez Sherry casks.
Colour: Medium to dark burnished gold, autumn orange. (the bottle says it contain E150a colouring).
Nose: Gentle and sweet. You’re greeted by smooth and restrained peaty hints, along with a waxy varnish type note followed by a rich and layered fruity compote of winter berries; stewed blackcurrants, blackberries and gooseberries along with hints of macadamia nuts.
Posted in Review, Whisky
The Entertainer by Compass Box – 46% abv
Info: Released over four years ago, The Entertainer by Compass Box is an exclusive whisky to Selfridges, so a slightly more unusual Compass Box dram to find. 1000 bottles produced.
Colour: Bright and fairly light gold, summery.
Nose: A slightly older nose to this, but fairly strong and powerful. There’s hints of over ripe citrus fruit, Christmassy fruit cake, toffee caramels, hints of gentle smoke and just a pinch of herb. With a little more time to open up there’s some creamy vanilla notes, and some mossy dunnage-style damp wood. Selfridges and Compass Box are very much trying to recreate a nose found in whiskies from yesteryear.
Lagavulin 1994 Distillers Edition – 43% abv
Info: Lagavulin, finished in Pedro Ximenez sherry casks. Yum. Distilled 1994, bottled 2010. 43% abv.
Colour: Rusty gold, slightly orangey.
Nose: On the nose you’ve got those sassy Lagavulin notes; sweet peat, ozone, salty sea breeze, Lapsang… but it’s all held in check a little by beautiful rich fruitcake fruit notes from the secondary maturation in sweet PX sherry casks. Almost a drop of milk chocolate, hints of seville orange marmalade.
Palate: On the palate it’s fairly oily, it’s laid back and easy on your tongue, hints of spices. There’s sweet Christmas fruitcake flavours amongst gentle peat and moss notes, the two integrating perfectly together. A slight tar background with hints of salt.
The Wood Makes the Whisky | Gordon and MacPhail
Below you’ll find a bumper review of 18 G&M whiskies, but first let’s take a quick look at why I’m reviewing these whiskies in the first place… In short, it’s all about wood!
Gordon and MacPhail’s Ewen Macintosh (Chief Operating Officer) possibly sums up their ‘Wood Makes the Whisky’ campaign best when he said “Here at Gordon & MacPhail we have always been focused on the close relationship between oak and spirit, and have learned from vast experience that wood really does make the whisky. We have selected the special series of whiskies to demonstrate this complex relationship.
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
Five Douglas Laing Single Grains
Douglas Laing independently bottle single malt whiskies and single grain whiskies under various different brands within their range.
Let’s take a look at five of their single grain whiskies, ranging from a younger 11yo right up to a stonking 50yo.
Single grain’s often don’t pack the same flavour hit as single malts, mostly due to the different production process… that said, I’ve always found them to have plenty of flavour, especially if picked well, as Douglas Laing surely does. Therefore, for me, I’m a big fan, I like easy going whiskies that don’t tax me too much, I’m lazy like that. Also, they generally cost less, winner!
Yula II – 21 Years Old – 52.3% abv
Info: Yula II 21 Years Old from Douglas Laing was released a year after the first Yula was released and becomes the second in a trilogy of limited editions.
Colour: Light summary gold.
Nose: Punchy and up front, the 21 years haven’t dulled this dram one bit. It’s full of bite, full of Islay coastal wind, salt and peat. Instantly you feel like you’re sat on a beach during a late summer’s evening storm, watching the waves go by. After a little while the nose settles and out comes floral peat notes, and a real cereal character.