Three Douglas Laing Provenance Bottlings Reviewed: Arran 16yo, Highland Park 14yo and Laphroaig 10yo
I was recently lucky enough to check out three new summer releases from Douglas Laing & Co Ltd. / Douglas McGibbon & Co. Ltd.
As part of their Provenance Single Malt collection Douglas Laing highlights the particular distillation seasons through Spring / Summer / Autumn / Winter via distinctive labelling, and I got to try out three drams from their Summer range, released in June. Provenance is bottled in the traditional style – not coloured, not chill-filtered and typically at 46% strength.
Amazingly enough as the samples arrived we enjoyed one of the hottest summers in many a year, not quite malt drinking weather, so I’m a little behind with this review… but read on for my tasting notes!
Arran 16yo – 46%
Colour: (Lightish) Gold.
Nose: Clean and malty with just a wee touch of farm influence. A caramel / fudge vanilla note. This is a sherry cask, but there’s certainly a few notes that I’m used to finding in bourbon casks.
Palate: A medium mouth feel in which spices turn up after a while, but first preceded by more of a malty wood note than expected from the nose, quite lively and fun going in different directions but tempered by something that’s beginning to enjoy it’s age. Fairly sweet with the caramel vanilla notes balancing things out well. A pinch of smoke in the background.
Finish: Again fairly lively, refreshing, sweet and malty, lasting a fairly long time and leaving some warmth on your chest.
Thoughts: I’ve not tried the official 16yo so can’t compare directly, but this is certainly good clean fun for a dram, enjoyable for a start of an evening. Presented as whisky geeks like it, natural colour and non-chill filtered. However, for a sherry cask I expected more. Around 84 in score.
Available from Master Of Malt for £62.73.
Highland Park 14yo – 46%
Nose: Touches of smoke and a fair amount of rubber… from experience this comes from sherry influence. Given some time the rubber notes dissipate a little leaving a sweet (as in sugar sweet but also as in candy sweet) and fruity nose.
Palate: Medium mouthfeel… sweet, heathery peat smoke fairly up front, reasonable pinch of spices and hints of autumn fruits and orangey caramel… the rubber notes from the nose aren’t found much at all, in fact the palate is a step up from the nose.
Finish: Warming and long, the sweet smoke and slightly floral notes on the palate carry right on and stick around for quite a long time with the rubber notes poking their head up at the end a wee bit and some oak notes as it dies away.
Thoughts: Well balanced and seems a touch older than it is. At first I disliked the nose, but that wore off after a bit of time / air and the rest of the dram totally made up for it. Much more my sort of dram this. A drop of water brings out a fresh note and takes a bit of spice away, probably worth trying that way. 86 in score.
Available from Master of Malt for £77.33
Laphroaig 10yo – 46%
Colour: Very light gold.
Nose: Release the peat! Instantly recognisable as something from Islay… packed full of peaty goodness. Sweet, costal / slightly salty. Clean and fresh peat with less TCP notes than maybe you’d sometimes find in a Laphroaig. Milk chocolate tones amongst the malt. A very single cask feel to this, you can almost taste the oaky cask with its hessian bung.
Palate: Smokey peat is up front, a pretty earthy peat, particularly enjoyable and in great shape at 10years old (older’s not always better with peated malts). Sweet and malty with the trademark TCP notes right at the back. The younger age helps lead to a fairly good amount of spice when held on the tongue.
Finish: For something so overtly peaty it’s got a nicely sweet, fairly subtle finish… long, as many peated malts are, but smooth with the trademark TCP notes making more of an appearance at the end.
Thoughts: A great example of Laphroaig, good fun drinking… a bit like marmite you’ll love this or hate it, if you love peat then give this a whirl, if you don’t like peat then steer well clear! This is young enough to retain some nice distillery character / initial spirit sweetness which is nice to see. As I’m a peat fan I’ll give this 88 as a score.
Available from The Whisky Shop for £70.99 (plus 10% discount for W Club members)
Many thanks to Douglas Laing for the three samples.