Douglas Laing is one of my absolute favourite indie whisky bottlers. And that’s saying a lot, because I’m a pretty big fan of indie bottlers, and there are quite a lot of them…
(On that note, check out our other blog post about some favourite indie bottlers you’ve never heard of!)
Picking the my favourites from all of Douglas Laing’s whiskies is no easy task, as there are a lot to pick from, and as they release so many single casks, their expressions come and go fairly frequently.
For now, here’s 6 very enticing drams that I picked out with help from the wonderful folks from Douglas Laing.
As it happens, these same 6 whiskies are going into our box for June 2020…
…and as I say every month…this box, and the whiskies in it, are my favourite yet!
Take a look at my comments and Douglas Laing’s tasting notes, and feel free to grab a box if you’re not already a Tasting Club member.
We love the Double Barrel concept. It’s the ultimate in blending minimalism, being a blended malt made from just two casks, in this case, one from a Speyside distillery, and one from a Lowland distillery. In many ways, we’d say it was more a “single cask hybrid malt” than a blended malt, but we don’t think the Scotch Whisky Association would like us if we put that on the label!
Regardless, a brilliant way to make whisky.
Nose: Fragrantly fresh, carrying a fruity quality plus a sweet gristy character.
Palate: Sweet, still fruity with honey and vanilla.
Finish: Softly spiced with an orange zest
The Provenance range is a brilliant entry point for exploring single cask whisky. Mainly very aﬀordable, this particular Blair Athol expression is a little more on the unique side, having been matured for 12 years exclusively in a reﬁll sherry butt. Surprisingly pale for a sherry-matured dram, the sherry inﬂuence shows more on the palate than anywhere else.
Nose: Sugary and honeyed upfront – runs to beautiful barley and mature fruit.
Palate: Catch its Sherry heritage: dark macerated fruit, home baking and spice.
Finish: Spices are more apparent – then malt, followed by a “cold” minty ﬁnish
Clan Denny is the well-kept secret family member in the Douglas Laing whisky clan, being owned by sister company Douglas McGibbon and Co. and not as prominent in the UK market. Don’t let that lack of prominence fool you – their releases are well worth tracking down.
This Jura is no exception, and with just 321 bottles released, enjoy it while you can!
Nose: Oh-so-blond but oh-so-sweet and sugared on the nose, ahead of some crisp spice.
Palate: The malty palate is equally sweet and maple syrup in style with a later spiced dryness.
Finish: The same spices are now more dominant on the ﬁnish.
One of the great things about independent bottlings from well-known distilleries is the opportunity to explore a new take on their typical ﬂavour proﬁle. With Single Minded releases being super-small batch (just 2-4 casks each) this is certainly true for this bottling of spirit from famous Islay distillery Caol Ila.
Have fun spotting the similarities and revelling in any new notes you can detect.
Nose: The nose is immediately full of smoky bacon crisps, burnt wood, bonﬁre embers and summer tar.
Palate: The delicious palate reveals ash, dried earth and peated barley.
Finish: The ﬁnish goes on and on with streaky bacon, burnt buttered toast and honeycomb.
An absolute coastal and smoky ﬂavour bomb, Rock Island celebrates some of the very best of Scotland’s whisky-producing islands, with liquid from famous oﬀ-shore distilleries Jura, Arran, Orkney and Islay.
My favourite in Douglas Laing’s regional range of blended malts, and undoubtedly remarkable!
Nose: Wave soaked rocks and a salty oceanic fresh inﬂuence.
Palate: Subtle, carrying soft and slightly sweet peat paralleled with smoke, honey, damp ash, liquorice and late pepper.
Finish: All of what went before is neatly replicated in the moreish ﬁnish.
Oh my! Well-aged single grain whisky is a particular joy for Dram Team founder Chris, and he is “xtra” excited to be including this three-decades-aged Girvan in this set. Weighing in at an impressive £180 RRP and with just 230 bottles produced, it is a treat more than worthy of our dream dram spot.
Savour every fantastic sip!
Nose: The nose brings a vanilla fudge character with milky cereal and rhubarb.
Palate: The creamy palate bursts with toﬀee apples, pineapple chunks in syrup and cinnamon.
Finish: The ﬁnish is long and warming with polished oak, BBQ’d bananas and runny honey.
This list of the best Douglas Laing whiskies was so hard to put together. They have released so many sensation whiskies over the years. I wrote another blog about the history of Douglas Laing. If you want to learn more about their whisky, give it a read.
Every month The Dram Team sends six fantastic whiskies to our members. The June 2020 box included all of my favourite Douglas Laing whiskies. So, if you want to try these stellar whiskies, you’re in luck!
You can order The Douglas Laing Collection right now.
Better still, join our Dram Team Tasting Club! Use the code on the page to get a welcome discount of £10 off the Douglas Laing Collection. And, as a special bonus, you’ll save £5 on every box after that!
Our members have our whiskies delivered right to their doors every month, what more could you ask for?
Warm whisky wishes,
Founder, The Dram Team