Douglas Laing are still knocking good stuff out, I see the Old Particular outturns come and go but I can’t do much about them with so many other whiskies I have to buy that I am able to taste before doing so… but I know there’s some gems in there. These remarkable regional malts are quite a good option for NAS drinkers, expressions of a style. I’ve liked some more than others but they are generally a good bet, and some have been phenomenal.
Apologies to Douglas Laing who sent me some of these ages ago to taste, which I duly did and then forgot to publish the notes! They’re all still in stock anyway.
Nose - Quite robust in its highland way, with green apple, crayons and radiator dust. I love that combination of orchard fruit, waxy spirit, ozone and varnished woods. There's a touch of petrol here to add some grown up complexity.
Body - But the delivery is a little disappointing at first - slightly bitter, a little hollow, although that does develop into a more peppery toffee with some of the fruit returning later on. I think this is perhaps just a little austere even for me.
Finish - Medium to short with chalk and oils at the end. Slightly fizzing with big tannins at the back of the throat.
Loved the nose on this but the delivery didn't quite do it. A little austere, perhaps a little awkward too.
Islands. There’s a new Rock Oyster sherry edition out now too.
Nose - Quite vegetal, slightly dirty, very evocative of rock pools funnily enough, slightly funky and green with algae and ozone. It has a kind of waxy lowlandy feel to it too. And unrelated, cracked black pepper crisps.
Body - Really gentle and creamy this, with that peppery almost peat from the Jura providing the bass notes.
Finish - Long, and peppery again, and now apple chews provide the bass notes with dried flowers and a touch of new bandage.
This one is full where the beastie is hollow, although both have a lovely restraint. I'm a fan of this one.
Body - Sweet but very malty, fizzing lemon - quite hot, lots of youth here. Cracked black pepper, lemony Sichuan peppercorns later on, although a really lovely sweetness and some good casks. Much better with water, there's peach and orange, big bitter tannins though.
Finish - Numbing and oily. Quite biscuity. Red chilli with water.
The higher strength exposes the youth here a little, these are better presented at drinking strength I think? Anyway it's still good juice, bit spicy for me perhaps.
Nose - Ripe, red and berried. This is the kind of nose that made old Glendronach so well loved - lots of sherry but lots of quality. Lip salve, Vimto and black jacks complete the luxury. Fingers crossed…
Body - … not quite. Good body here with quite a sour sherry development, redcurrant jelly and good tannins. But there is a lack of depth and luxury that takes it down a couple of notches, and a simplicity in the sherry that gives the age away a little.
Finish - fizzing and slightly bitter with chewed orange pith and Sechuan peppercorns and leatherette.
This is a good drinker but not quite would I'd hoped it would be given the nose.
Nose - It could only be CI or young Bunna. Sweet, slightly dank, cereal and crushed shells but meaty… actually a big hit of slightly fetid bandage puts it elsewhere in Islay. Digestive biscuits dipped in milky, instant coffee. Ketchup. I give up. Simpler and more approachable with water - green apple and leather.
Body - Rich and remarkable, very sweet, very definitely Tunnock's Milk Chocolate Caramel Wafers. Slightly burnt with water, but there's flashes of cherry.
Finish - Long with that chocolate toffee and a slightly peppery edge - and some dried, old Marlboro light tobacco.
Lots to taste here, lots to write about but the delivery is so robust it's quite tiring to drink. Good “tasting” whisky (would be a great end to a tasting) but you'd struggle with a bottle.
Nose - Sweet and mature Scotch at first, then mineral and funky later, lightly medicinal. This has that intensely sweet backing to brighter, more mineral peat and wood that makes mature Islay what it is. Slightly rotten apples and cigars. Definitely more medicinal with water.
Body - Intense in many ways and very good - hard to keep up with it. Ripe and very fruity at first, a little Germolene, cigarette tobacco, orange sorbet.
Finish - Long with lots of fruit juice - neat orange barley squash, orange zest and honey. A little aniseed at the end.
This is particularly good - the initial delivery is just fantastic, really rich, ripe and complete.