Douglas Laing were a new company to me when I started at the Whisky Shop. I'd sold whiskies from the Signatory range in my brief spell helping out at Weavers, and been a customer of the Scotch Malt Whisky Society for a number of years but really that was the sum total of my experience of indy bottlers.
It was therefore quite exciting to get the chance to try a couple from their range. Many of their range are single-cask, never to be repeated whiskies, which are always great for those that are looking for something a bit different and individual without paying the real big bucks for limited distillery releases. I think it's fair to say that these are whiskies for a rather more selective market, something a little more geeky if you will, but not the collectors and hoarders so much as the drinkers. These whiskies are less about big-release fanfares, pouring whisky over Playboy models and kryptonite-encrusted bottles in sabre-toothed tiger skin lined boxes,* than whisky for the pleasure it gives to drink it.
Old Malt Cask Macallan 16
The nose was initially quite grassy, it wasn't til I'd left it to open up that I got more wood, along with a dusting of demerara sugar and juicy sultana. On the palate it really shined, lots of citrus notes and orange pith accompanied by a spicy ginger note. The finish was dry and malty.
Distilled March 1996, bottled July 2012, 189 bottles from a refill butt. Bottled at 50% abv. Not coloured or chill-filtered.
'Clan Scott' Bladnoch 17
In comparison to The Macallan, Bladnoch is a malt I know almost nothing about, especially having tried an 18 year old independent bottling of Macallan only a week or so ago. This was the first whisky I had tried from Bladnoch so I suppose expectations were governed more by regional profile than the distillery itself.
It has a greenish hint to the pale gold colour. On the nose it's grassy, with fresh hay notes. A drop of water allowed the delicate flavours to develop, I got green apple, gooseberry and lemon-meringue pie; a slight creaminess to temper the fruit. There's a slight tannic grip to the finish
Bottled at 46% abv.
Note: I tried these whiskies through work. I'd like to think this review remains free of bias however. If I hadn't enjoyed the whiskies. I wouldn't have felt the need to write about them.
* The worrying thing is that midst my hyperbole there is some truth.