Big Peat - The Gold Edition - 25 years old

Big Peat - The Gold Edition - 25 yr old

Independent Bottler: Douglas Laing

Year of Distillation: 1992

Age: 25yr old

ABV 52.1% 

Bottle size: 70cl

Price: £165

Nose 21/25 - salty sea breeze, seaweed filled rock pools, freshly roasted hog.

Taste 22/25 - very sweet, almost toffee apple and then a sweaty saltiness.  A drying spice a bit like cracked black pepper.

Finish 22/25 - a deep mellow gingerbread, coupled with some all spice and woodiness.

Balance 23/25 - if you want a high quality well aged vatted malt from Islay then look no further.

Total 88/100

The regular releases of Big Peat and his Christmas variant are always very reliable and accessible.  This takes it to a different level and bodes well for the two releases still to come in this series.

Rock Oyster Cask Strength

Rock Oyster Cask Strength

  • Independent Bottler: Douglas Laing
  • Age: No age statement 
  • ABV 57.4%
  • Bottle size: 70 cl
  • Price: £ 50
  • Nose 21/25 - more BBQ pork and fire embers, hints of charcoal 
  • Taste 23/25 - sweet just like the original but much more spicy, lots of pepper and even touch of chilli and perhaps even salted caramel 
  • Finish 22/25 - raising the ABV by more than 10% has a real impact here moving it longer and deeper, not quite "Big Peat" but heading in that direction.
  • Balance 23 /25 - I liked the original but I like this even more, it's deeper darker and much more complex
  • Total 89/100

Rock Oyster Cask Strength; is the recently launched turbo charged version of last years Rock Oyster. It contains whisky distilled on Islay, Arran, Orkney and Jura, and it has all the coastal qualities from the original Rock Oyster but turned up to 11.

Rock Oyster

Rock Oyster

  • Independent Bottler: Douglas Laing
  • Age: No age statement 
  • ABV 46.8%
  • Bottle size: 70 cl
  • Price: £40
  • Nose 20/25 - whispy mild smoke not a raging campfire
  • Taste 23/25 - sweet, salty brine with a citrus twang and a twist of pepper
  • Finish 20/25 - given what is a fairly generous ABV its a mid length finish, you'd want to drink it later in the evening.
  • Balance 22/25 - I lift my hat to Douglas Laing once again Fred, Cara and Jan know how to construct a great Vatted Malt
  • Total 85 /100

Douglas Laing's Rock Oyster is a small batch bottling created using malts including those distilled on the Islands of Jura, Islay, Arran and Orkney.  It's bottled at 46.8% ABV without colouring or chill-filtration.

Review - Big Peat Christmas 2014 Edition

This review has been a long time coming. Why? Because I've been savouring every last drop and because I've simply been drinking it for enjoyment rather than for review purposes. Alas the bottle is now dead.... Roll on Christmas 2015!  It's a tradition because it's good!

Douglas Laing's ubiquitous blended malt always gets super charged for the festive season, it's full of Islay whiskies from the likes of Caol Ila, Bowmore, Ardbeg and even the now closed Port Ellen distillery. A superb balance of smoke and sweetness.

  • ABV 55.7% vol
  • 70cl
  • Price £45
  • Nose 23/25 - smoke, BBQ pork, smoked haddock, toasted brown bread.
  • Taste 23/25 - salted pistachio nuts, lime sherbet sweets, chalk.
  • Finish 22/25 - smoke ( obviously!!) and dirty potatoes (in a nice way!)
  • Balance 22/25 - benefits from the increased ABV, easy drinking despite the ABV.
  • Total 90/100

Review - Timorous Beastie

So here we have Douglas Laing's follow up to last years remarkable Scallywag, this time taking its name from Robert Burns poem "To a mouse". I loved their little mutt last year and rushed to get hands on this when they released it.  Is it as good as Scallywag? No it's not. Is it a bad whisky? Hell no, it's a great dram it's just that its flavour profile doesn't appeal to me as much.  It's head and shoulders above so many dull, safe and mundain bottles you can buy. I recently gave a bottle to a friend as a gift and he totally loved the packaging and design before he'd even tasted the whisky. Their long standing brand Big Peat has a similar effect. In terms of marketing I believe Douglas Laing are now very much market leaders, just as they are in terms of independent bottlers.  I hear rumours of another new brand that should hit the market very shortly and I greatly look forward to its arrival.

  • ABV 46.8% vol
  • 70cl
  • Price £36
  • Nose 23/25 - a big nose, sweet heather honey, malt, a flower border in full bloom.
  • Taste 22/25 - oohmp! Caramel, walnut, brown sugar, perhaps even orange. Then acohol burn! 
  • Finish 22/25 - long,  perfect after dinner dram.
  • Balance 22/25 - a cracking hearty, beefy highland dram.
  • Total 89/100

Review - Scallywag

I'm not going to beat about the bush I totally love this little mutt, launched in November 2013 it has become a firm favourite, whilst I'm sure there's bound to be someone who doesn't like it I've not come across them yet.  It's a blended malt (including Mortlach, Macallan and Glenrothes) and it's quality foundations are there for all to see.

  • ABV 46% vol
  • 70cl
  • Price £40
  • Nose 23/25 - sultanas, raisins, fruit cake, sherry, extremely sweet.
  • Taste 22/25 - less sweet (it could only be!), lots of spice, soft vanilla at the end. The choice to bottle at 46% definitely aids enjoyment.
  • Finish 22/25 - medium length and complex, steady move from oaky sherry through spice and onto vanilla.
  • Balance 21/25 - easily my favourite dram in the last 12 moths save for The General, but that's a bit like comparing a Mini Cooper with Rolls Royce.  Great value for money.
  • Total 88/100

Review - Highland Park 18 Year Old 1995 (cask 10161) - Old Particular (Douglas Laing)

I've not tasted huge amounts of Highland Park but in general previous encounters have been pretty positive (I've got thoughts to share re Einar but that can wait till another time). This is a smoky, sweet single malt, bottled by Douglas Laing. It was distilled in November 1995 and bottled in December 2013 with an outturn of just 332 bottles.

ABV 48.4% vol
Price £102
Nose 22/25 - seaweed and rock pools from childhood summer holidays, also shellfish served simply with olive oil and lemon. There's some TCP too.
Taste 22/25 - BBQ pulled pork, cloves and a hint of pepper.
Finish 21/25 - longish, with an old fashioned liquorice shoelace hint.
Balance 23/25 -  well balanced, well worth your money.
Total 88/100