Big Peat Christmas 2018 – 53.9% abv
A Christmas tradition here at Somerset Whisky Blog HQ (and I suspect for many others as well), is a love for the Big Peat Christmas edition. This year’s edition is out, and there’s still time to grab a bottle before the big day!
Here’s my thoughts…
Douglas Laing Mark Their 70th Anniversary With A Twist
Family owned Scotch Whisky specialist, Douglas Laing, continue to mark their Platinum Anniversary with the release of a commemorative Remarkable Regional Malts bottling.
The Company was established by Fred Douglas Laing in 1948. 70 years later, Douglas Laing is regarded as one of the most innovative independent spirit businesses, owned and run by 2nd and 3rd generation family members. This latest release certainly reflects the Company’s desire for innovation and creativity.
The “Remarkable Regional Malts – With A Twist” bottling encompasses Single Malts from all of Scotland’s Whisky producing regions, representing the various brands in the range. Aged for 10 years, bottled at 48% alcohol strength and offered without colouring or chill-filtration, the resulting Whisky reflects the very best of Scotch Malt Whiskies.
Syndicate 58/6 12 year old
Info: Contains 18 single malts and 4 single grains, finished for a year in Oloroso sherry butts. From Douglas Laing, a blend by Richard Patterson.
Colour: End of summer golden.
Nose: Spirited hints of pear, malt and rainy ozone. All backed by gentle sweet berry notes.
Palate: Very gentle sweet berry notes at the fore, it’s not overly oily, but it coats the tongue pleasingly. A hint of lemon.
Finish: Flavourful, with hints of wood and a slight touch of tannin at the end. Not overly long.
Thoughts: It’s a tasty blend at a great price.
Available: Master of Malt – £30 inc free postage.
Big Peat 25 year old Gold Edition – 52.1% ABV
Info: It’s nearly time for Feis Ile 2018, so what better way to enjoy it than to have a dram of Big Peat’s Gold Edition, a 25yo vatted Islay malt. No chill filtration and no colour.
Colour: Ripe golden barley
Nose: Delicate and slightly floral, a heathery Islay moorland summer day. Beautifully restrained coal and sea breeze peat notes underline what is obviously a well aged gentle dram, and maybe hides the higher ABV? A hint of old oak and wax polish.
Palate: Slightly peppery at first followed quickly be waves of sweet peat laden oils. Exciting to hold on your tongue for ages investigating the silky oils and sweet peat notes.
Rock Oyster 18 Years Old
Info: Made exclusively with 18yo whiskies distilled on Arran, Jura, Islay and Orkney.
Colour: Light golden straw.
Nose: Sweet floral ozone notes which soon deepen into something older. There’s well aged malty tones, gentle caramel toffee notes and hints of gentle heathery smoke puffs.
Palate: It’s oily and gently spiced on your tongue, which starts to give way to heathery floral peat notes with oaky hints which remind you of dark dunnage warehouses. There’s some slight buttery toffeeiness which helps the dram become very easy going and relaxed.
Big Peat Christmas 2017 & Big Peat Feis Ile 2017
Big Peat Christmas 2017
Info: The now traditional full cask strength Christmas release of Big Peat for 2017, coming in at 54.1% abv.
Colour: Very light indeed, just a hint of gold. Snowey!
Nose: Sweetness comes out quickly followed by a good dollop of coastal ozone breeze and coal tar peat smoke. Very alluring.
Palate: Lovely and oily, the high abv quickly builds on your tongue to make this a spicy number as the peat and sweetness mingle nicely together. The coal smoke is there all along.
Finish: Slightly buttery, and nicely peaty, this gradually reduces to earthy embers which keep going for ages on your chest.
Thoughts: Big Peat Christmas is always a treat, and this is too!
Available: The Green Welly Stop – £49
The Gauldrons – 46.2% abv
Info: The latest edition to join the Remarkable Regional Malts family, The Gauldrons is a “vatted” Malt exclusively from Cambeltown produced in very small batches and bottled without colouring or chill filtration.
Colour: Gentle golden straw.
Nose: Fairly strong and full, quite salty with hints of peat and green berry fruits.
Palate: Quite sweet with nice full oils on your tongue, followed by an interplay of salt, and then back to sweet notes, with some toffee creaminess and gentle fruits.
Finish: The finish is probably the most flavoursome part, and it lasts for a nice long time. The hints of peat means it’s good and warming. It’s slightly spiced, fairly sweet, and has a touch of oak tannins.
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.