Yula 22yo, Chapter Three 2017, Blended Malt, Limited Release
ABV: 51.2%
Region: Islay+Islands
Price per bottle: °°°°
Bottling: Douglas Laing
Cask type: -- (900 btl.)

 

Colour: Rich gold.
Nose: Fresh on the nose with a delicate sweetness of malted barley, vanilla and cereals, mixed with sea salt and a hint of ozone. Then flavours of coal ash and subtle smoke emerge, mingling with gentle peat and a whiff of tobacco leaves in the background.
Palate: Bold and intense on the palate. Malty, with sweet vanilla and a touch of cereals. Then spicy notes of black pepper emerge, together with subtle oak, tender coal ash, a hint of peat and dark chocolate towards the finish. Pleasantly warming and mouth-coating. The pepperiness increases with a second sip.
Finish: The finish is pleasantly long, warm and creamy with vanilla and sweet barley sugar. Becomes slightly dry on the tail with oak, a touch of tar, leather and a whiff of peat smoke.
With water: Intense on the nose when water is added, with more coal ash, sea salt, ozone and peat. The vanilla sweetness and barley sugar notes are significantly tamed. On the palate, however, the delicate sweetness is very present with malted barley, vanilla and cereals while the pepperiness is a bit reduced. Slightly warming with pleasant notes of apricots, milk chocolate and a hint of peat. The finish is a bit shorter, still warm and creamy with toffee and vanilla, before subtle notes of coal ash, oak, peat and tobacco leaves take over.
Comments: This third bottling of the Yula trilogy captivates with its wonderful balance of sweet, spicy and maritime notes. Nothing dominates, everything's in beautiful harmony. Without water very spicy on the tongue, but the malted sweetness, together with creamy vanilla, do well against it. Also quite interesting to play with some water, as this dram changes in an interesting way. A great blended malt that can be enjoyed very well in front of the fireplace, just in the cold season.

 

I thank Douglas Laing for the sample and the photograph!


Rock Oyster Sherry Edition, Small Batch Release 2017
ABV: 46.8%
Region: Highlands (Orkney, Arran, Jura) and Islay
Price per bottle: °
Bottling: Douglas Laing
Cask type: Sherry Butts

 

Colour: Old gold.
Nose: Peat and smoke on the nose followed by cereals and sweet notes of malted barley, and tender sherry. Fruity flavours arrive with oranges, cherries, subtle plums and a hint of dates, too. Fresh sea air, smoked kippers and a whiff of camphor in the background.
Palate: Quite oily on the palate. Salty and sweet at the same time. Fruity notes of oranges and bananas, nicely mixed with creamy barley sugar and a warming spiciness of black pepper, oak and cloves. Hintes of sherry and dark chocolate, all wrapped in delicate peat and warm smoke.
Finish: A medium long, warm and subtle dry finish with sweet barley sugar, creamy fruit and peat smoke on the tail. Pleasantly mouth-coating.
With water: There's more medicinal notes coming through - camphor and gauze bandage - when a few drops of water are added. Peat smoke and brine but also tender sweet and fruity notes of oranges and dark fruits. Stays sweet on the palate with a significantly enhanced spiciness of cracked black pepper, oak, cloves and allspice. Warm with lingering peat smoke in the back. The finish shows medium length with warming and dry notes of peat, smoke and cloves, while the sweet and fruity flavours are already gone.
Comments: An elegant blended malt. Nicely balanced with maritime flavours, dark fruits, sherry and warming spices, perfectly embraced by lingering peat smoke. Rich, lively and well put together. The maturation in sherry casks adds another layer of aroma on top to the standard version of Rock Oyster. Well done!

 

I thank Douglas Laing for the sample and the photograph!


The Gauldrons, 2017, Small Batch Bottling No. 1, Campbeltown Blended Malt
ABV: 46.2%
Region: Campbeltown
Price per bottle: °°
Bottling: Douglas Laing
Cask type: --

 

Colour: Pale gold.
Nose: The nose starts off with a fresh maritime note, nicely mixed with custard and a touch of citrus. Fruity flavours of apricots and sweet barley sugar arrive, lingering with sea salt and a whiff of peat smoke in the back. Fresh, oily and rich.
Palate: Sweet and fruity on the palate with apricots, vanilla and malted barley. This is complemented by a fairly warming spiciness of cloves, nutmeg, oak and cracked black pepper. Spicy and slightly dry on the mid palate with a maritime touch of seaweed towards the finish.
Finish: A pleasantly long finish with a gentle warmth. Crisp oak and creamy barley sugar mingle with peppery spice and a touch of peat smoke on the tail.
With water: Lively, quite vibrant and fresh on the nose when a few drops of water are added. Sweet and fruity with barley sugar and vanilla. Significantly creamy on the palate with apricots, malted barley, vanilla and a tamed spiciness. Creamy, meaty and slightly warming with a whiff of peat smoke and maritime notes towards the finish. The finish shows good length with a creamy touch of sweet vanilla, barley sugar, milk chocolate and a touch of herbal notes in the back. Very pleasant.
Comments: A very tasty blended malt from Campbeltown. It reminds me of Springbank immediately. Slightly oily, paired with a maritime note, clean fruitiness and sweet malted barley. Nicely complex, with flavours in perfect balance. I liked it even better with a splash of water, as even more filigree sweet and fruity notes appeared behind the warming peppery spice.

 

I thank Douglas Laing for the sample and the photograph!


Moon Harbour, Pier 2, Blended Malt Whisky
ABV: 47.1%
Region: Bordeaux (France)
Price per bottle: °°
Bottling: Distillery
Cask type: Finish for over 2 months in
Red Wine Casks from Château La Louvière, Pessac-Léognan

 

Colour: Reddish amber.
Nose: Sweet and fruity on the nose with cherries, raspberries and red berries, complemented by a delicate red wine aroma. This is all wrapped in pleasant peat smoke.
Palate: Sweet and strong on the palate with rich red wine flavours. Again sweet and delicate notes of cherries, red berries and raspberries, followed by sweet barley sugar. Warming spices arrive with cinnamon, pepper, nutmeg and spiced oak, mixed with a slightly sour touch of red currant towards the finish.
Finish: The finish is long, warm and creamy sweet with red fruit compote. Becomes slightly dry on the tail with oak, tannins and peat smoke.
With water: Water enhances the fruitiness on the nose with more red berries, cherries and raspberries, while the red wine flavours are tamed. Sweet and creamy on the palate with toffee and stewed cherries and a slightly warming touch of spiciness. The finish is still long, slightly warm with red fruits. Becomes very dry on the tail with oak, lots of tannins and peat smoke.

Comments: A fairly powerful blended malt. This luscious combination of sweet red fruits, warming spices, peat smoke and tannic dryness is satisfying nose and palate equally. The Château La Louvière red wine cask finish brings in delicate fruitiness and opulent sweetness harmonizing well with the peaty character of this blended malt. Best to enjoy in front of a fireplace.

 

I thank Mr. Whisky Michael Reckhard for the sample and photograph!


Big Peat's Pals, Fèis Ìle 2017, Limited Edition
ABV: 48.0%
Region: Islay
Price per bottle: °°
Bottling: Douglas Laing
Cask type: Finished in Sherry Casks (1,600 btl.)

 

Colour: Dark gold.
Nose: Fresh on the nose with sea air and subtle peat smoke. Fruity notes of red apples and stewed peaches emerge, nicely intermingling with sherry sweetness, liquorice and a whiff of cinnamon. With time, more and more peat arrives.
Palate: Bold and intense on the palate with a delicate sweetness of barley sugar, red apples and ripe peaches. This is complemented by pepper, peat, ashes and a slightly alcoholic bite. Then sherry arrives, followed by creamy notes of caramel and malt. Gentle peat smoke, tender tobacco leaves and dark chocolate towards the finish.
Finish: The finish is long, warm, sweet and creamy with vanilla, malted barley and soft peat. Becomes slightly dry on the tail with a touch of cocoa, oak, allspice and ashes.

With water: Quite lively on the nose when water is added. There's more smoke and spiciness, while the lovely sherry sweetness is fairly tamed. Still sweet and fruity on the palate with vanilla, malted barley, caramel and apples. The peppery notes are significantly reduced with only subtle warming spices towards the finish. The finish is a bit shorter with vanilla, barley and dark chocolate, nicely wrapped in crisp peat smoke.
Comments: A pleasant and intense blended malt with a nice balance of sweetness, fruitiness and peat smoke. The finish in sherry casks delivers delicate sweet and spicy notes taming a bit of the typical Islay punch. Not entirely complex, but quite a pleasing dram which also tolerates some drops of water.

 

I thank Douglas Laing for the sample and the photograph!


Rock Oyster 18yo, Limited Edition 2017, Island Blended Malt Scotch Whisky
ABV: 46.8%
Region: Highlands (Orkney, Arran, Jura) and Islay
Price per bottle: °°
Bottling: Douglas Laing
Cask type: --

 

Colour: Pale gold.
Nose: Fresh start on the nose with sea air, coastal smoke, peat and a whiff of salt. Creamy with vanilla, ginger, malted barley and lemon curd. Subtle spicy with peppery oak in the background.
Palate: Sweet vanilla and toffee mingle with white peaches, heather, barley and peat along with a warming spiciness of oak and white pepper. Minerally with a maritime touch and subtle cloves towards the finish.
Finish: A medium long, salty and grainy finish with sweet and creamy heather honey, malted barley, tender coal ash and a touch of peat smoke on the tail. Nicely mouth-coating.
With water: Quite fresh on the nose with a few drops of water. Sea air with lots of peat smoke and coal ash. Less fruity and sweet. The delicate sweetness is tamed on the palate, too, while more peppery oak and cloves are coming through. Peat smoke and allspice towards the finish. The finish shows medium length with a warming and spicy core, followed by subtle heather and vanilla sweetness. Becomes fairly dry on the tail.
Comments: A well put together, rich and lively blended malt embracing the character of Orkney, Arran, Jura and Islay. A strong, peppery and smoky dram with a sweet and creamy core of vanilla, barley and heather. Perfect for an autumnal day out on the west coast of Scotland.

 

I thank Douglas Laing for the sample and the photograph!

Peatside 5yo, Batch #1, That Boutique-y Whisky Company
ABV: 55.0%
Region: Speyside
Price per bottle: °° (0.5L)
Bottling: That Boutique-y Whisky Company (TBWC)
Cask type: 1st-Fill Madeira Barrique (331 btl.)

 

Colour: Bright amber.
Nose: Fruity on the nose with strawberries and bananas. This is accompanied by intense peat smoke, mixed with burnt caramel and tobacco leaves. Hints of grassy notes and fresh oak in the background.
Palate: Sweet start on the palate with fruit, banana, grapes, followed by with a warming spiciness of oak, pepper, and allspice. Creamy malted barley arrives, replaced by dry notes of grape peel, tobacco leaves and peat smoke.
Finish: The finish shows medium length with subtle creamy red fruit. Becomes dry on the tail with warming spice, oak and tobacco leaves.
With water: Significantly tamed fruitiness on the nose when a splash of water is added. Becomes very dry with more peat, coal ash and smoke. Less sweet but significantly drier on the palate. Oak, burnt caramel, cough syrup and peat smoke are dominating here. The finish is medium long, warm and dry with tobacco leaves, peat smoke and prickling oak. No sign of any fruits left.
Comments: This young blended malt is a bit unbalanced to me. Delicate fruitiness of the madeira cask on the one hand, a bold, boisterous peaty smokiness with dry oak on the other. Both parts do not really stick together. Water doesn't help at all as it significantly tames the pleasant fruitiness.

 

I thank Kirsch Whisky - The House of Whiskies for the sample and the photograph!


Timorous Beastie 18yo, Limited Edition, Highland Malt Scotch Whisky
ABV: 46,8%
Region: Highlands
Price per bottle: °°
Bottling: Douglas Laing
Cask type: -- (7,258 btl.)

 

Colour: Pale gold.
Nose: The nose starts off with a pleasant fruitiness of apricots, white peaches and subtle bananas. This is underlined with a decent vanilla sweetness and lemon sorbet. Hints of honey and a touch of floral notes in the background. Mellow and very appealing!
Palate: Lovely sweet on the palate with vanilla, honey and lingering fruits - peaches, pineapples and bananas.  This is complemented with a warming spiciness of black pepper, along with a touch of cinnamon and crisp oak towards the finish. Nice and tasty!
Finish: The finish shows medium length with a lingering mix of sweet vanilla and honey notes, along with pepper, spiced oak and subtle cinnamon. Slightly dry on the tail.
With water: Fresh and clean on the nose when water is added. Increased fruitiness of white peaches, apricots and pineapples, nicely mixed with fresh lemon sorbet. Quite sweet and fruity on the palate while the warming spiciness is tamed a bit. Less black pepper with honey and cinnamon towards the finish. The finish is medium long with creamy honey, vanilla, subtle cinnamon and prickling oak on the tail.
Comments: Quite a powerful blended Highland malt. Good balance of sweetness, luscious yellow fruits and warming spiciness with a reasonable complexity. Needs time to develop its full flavour profile. Pleasantly drinkable both neat and diluted. The brave younger brother of the outstanding 40 yo Beastie!

 

I thank Douglas Laing for the sample and the photograph!


Scallywag 13yo, 2017 Limited Edition

ABV: 46%
Region: Speyside
Price per bottle: °°
Bottling: Douglas Laing
Cask type: Sherry Casks

 

Colour: Amber.
Nose: Unequivocally sherry on the nose. However, not that bold "sherry bomb" but rather filigree, gentle and well-structured flavours. There's cinnamon, dried fruits and red berries, along with juicy oranges and baked red apples. With time, lingering oak spice emerges, accompanied with hazelnut, subtle raisins, nutmeg and a whiff of ginger in the background. A gorgeous nose!
Palate: This lovely mix of delicate flavours continues on the palate. There's creamy vanilla, red dried fruits, juicy oranges, and subtle raisins coming through. This is well-balanced with a pleasant spiciness of oak, cinnamon, sweet crystallized ginger and nutmeg. Some floral notes arrive, nicely intermingling with slightly bitter orange peel towards the finish.
Finish: The finish shows medium length with creamy vanilla, zesty orange and mocha, leading to a warm and spicy end with oak, pepper and nutmeg.
With water: Fresher on the nose with a few drops of water. It brings out some more spice while the fruity flavours remain present. Both the sweetness and fruitiness, however, are significantly tamed on the palate bringing more oak spice, cracked black pepper, ginger and nutmeg to the fore. The finish is medium long, warm and spicy with prickling oak on the tongue. Becomes significantly dry with a whiff of tobacco leaves on the tail.
Comments: An absolutely fabulous blended malt. Exuberant sweet and fruity aromas in perfect balance with a rich spiciness coming from the sherry casks. A multi-layered, entertaining dram with no overwhelming sherry flavours. Truly enjoyable and dangerously quaffable. Be careful when adding water as you might loose a lot of character of this gorgeous dram.

 

I thank Douglas Laing for the photograph!


Dram Regional 6yo, Limited (Edition No. 1) to 3 Casks, 2017, Lowland Blended Malt Scotch Whisky
ABV: 46%
Region: Lowlands
Price per bottle: °
Bottling: C&S Dram Collection
Cask type: -- (1,699 btl.)

 

Colour: Pale straw.
Nose: Clean and fresh on the nose with lemons, quince and vanilla, followed by notes of pomace with a touch of acidity. Hints of leather and subtle peppery notes in the background.

Palate: Smooth, clean and much sweeter than the nose suggests. Sweet vanilla, tender toffee, and fruits - apricots in particular, followed by a nicely warming spiciness of oak, pepper and hints of leather towards the finish.
Finish: The finish is medium long, creamy sweet with sticky apricot jam and slightly warm spices. Grassy with a herbal touch on the tail.
With water: There's a slight change on the nose with a few drops of water. Still fresh and clean with some more spice and herbal tones in the back. Creamy and fruity sweetness on the palate mixed with toffee and vanilla. This is accompanied by spiced oak and black pepper. The finish is a bit shorter, subtle sweet with apricot jam and creamy vanilla, followed by a warming mix of spiced oak, pepper and a herbal touch on the tail.
Comments: A pleasant, grainy and fruity blended malt with a discreet marriage of sweet, spicy and herbal flavours. Quite young but enjoyable and, already nicely quaffable. A seriously entertaining dram indeed.

 

I thank Caminneci - Wine & Spirit Partner for the sample and the photograph!


Michel Couvreur, Overaged Malt Whisky (12-27yo), Blended Malt
ABV: 53%
Region: Scotland/France (Burgundy)
Price per bottle: °°
Bottling: Michel Couvreur
Cask type: Sherry Oak Casks (Bottle Code L. 2016002)

 

Colour: Dark amber.
Nose: Sweet and spicy on the nose with sherry, dark fruits, cherries and raisins, tobacco leaves and subtle aniseed. A hint of smoke nicely lingers with cinnamon, leather, matches and notes of cedarwood in the back. The alcohol is well-integrated.
Palate: Rich sherry flavours on the palate with Christmas cake, plums, raisins and also some juicy red fruits. Not as sweet as the nose suggests. This is followed by a warming spiciness of oak, caramelised ginger, aniseed and pepper. Notes of tobacco leaves, leather and dark bitter chocolate nicely mingle with subtle smoke of burnt matches towards the finish. Deliciously mouthfilling!
Finish: The finish is long, warm, slightly sweet and spicy with oak. Becomes drier towards the end with tobacco leaves, aniseed and slightly bitter dark chocolate.
With water: There's more smoke and spiciness coming through when water is added. The lovely fruity and sherry flavours are significantly tamed. Slightly sweet and fruity on the palate, accompanied with a significantly increased spiciness of oak, pepper and dry notes of tobacco leaves and espresso. The finish is still long, warm and very dry with spiced oak, more smoke and tobacco notes.
Comments: Very decent stuff! The nose is gorgeous with a nice interplay of rich sherry sweetness, dark fruitiness and spiciness. Very well balanced. Lacks a bit of sweetness on the palate while spicy and dry notes dominate. Lovely complex with a well-integrated alcohol. Certainly one for the colder days. Best to enjoy neat in front of a log fire.


Voyager I, 231° U.4.1' 1886.2"TS, 19yo, 1997-2016, Speyside Blended Malt
ABV: 52.9%
Region: Speyside
Price per bottle: °°°
Bottling: Scotch Universe
Cask type: First Fill Côte de Beaune Wine Barrique

Colour: Amber.
Nose: Fruity on the nose with red apples, raspberries, dark cherries and ripe yellow pears. Notes of dark chocolate and subtle cinnamon nicely linger with hints of oak in the back.
Palate: Bold, rich and intensely warming on the palate with black pepper and cinnamon. This is followed by creamy stewed fruits, nicely wrapped in spiced and slightly dry oak.
Finish: The finish is long, warm and fruity with apples and dark cherries. Bold notes of spiced oak, pepper and a whiff of cinnamon on the tail. This is accompanied by a touch of cinnamon with a dry end.
With water: Water brings more fruity flavours to the fore with lots of cherries, notes of vanilla and black pepper, too. Still strong and intense on the palate with creamy even silky fruit compote. Sweeter with cherries, apples and pears and only a hint of oak spice. The finish is long, warm and creamy with fruit jam, cinnamon and subtle spiced oak. Very delicate!
Comments: A big powerful bruiser! Mature and complex. This blended malt is very well balanced. I love the interplay of fruity and sweet, spicy and dry. A confident, well-rounded cask strength expression best to enjoy with a splash of water after a good meal.

I thank Michel Reick from Scotch Universe for the sample and the photograph!


Timorous Beastie 21yo, Highland Blended Malt, Sherry Edition
ABV: 46.8%
Region: Highlands (Dalmore, Glengoyne, Glen Garioch and Blair Athol Distilleries)
Price per bottle: °°°
Bottling: Douglas Laing
Cask type: Sherry Casks (2.718 btl.)

 

Colour: Deep gold to amber.
Nose: The nose starts off with delicate cinnamon spice, covered by sherry flavours and dark dried fruits. Barley sugar, sweet honey and custard with a hint of leather in the background.
Palate: Bold and rich on the palate with a massive load of sherry, layers of dried fruits, raisins and subtle sweet acacia honey. This is complemented by a nicely warming spiciness of cinnamon, Xmas spice, oak and a hint of pepper. Underneath there's a lovely sweetness of barley sugar, vanilla and lingering nutty flavours. Deliciously mouthfilling!
Finish: The finish is long, pleasantly warming and fruity with raisins, followed by a delicate nuttiness and prickling oak. Becomes drier towards the end with spiced oak and slightly bitter dark chocolate.
With water: Clean and fresh on the nose with a few drops of water. Less fruity, spicy and sherried flavours with more oak coming through. Less warming and significantly tamed on the palate with only mild spices, prickling oak and a subtle sweetness of dried fruits. The finish is a bit shorter and creamy but becomes very dry with oak, bitter notes of walnuts and dark chocolate, followed by a hint of cinnamon on the tail.
Comments: This limited edition of Timorous Beastie is a big, bold and intense blended malt with a great mouthfeel. Full of rich sherry flavours, dried fruits and sweetness, perfectly balanced with oak and Christmas spices. Certainly one for the upcoming Xmas season. Best to enjoy neat in front of a log fire.

 

I thank Douglas Laing for the sample and the photograph!


Yula 21yo, Chapter Two 2016, Blended Malt, Limited Release
ABV: 52.3%
Region: Islay+Islands
Price per bottle: °°°
Bottling: Douglas Laing
Cask type: -- (900 btl.)

 

Colour: Dark straw.
Nose: Clean and fresh on the nose with gentle peat and medicinal flavours. Behind that lingering notes of malted barley, cereals and a touch of citrus emerge. Hints of vanilla, toffee and subtle smoke in the background.
Palate: Smooth start on the palate with lingering sweet notes of barley sugar, toffee and cereals. Slightly warming spiciness of pepper, nutmeg, cloves and oak arrives, nicely mixed with a whiff of citrus and peat smoke in the back. A touch of medicinal flavours with subtle sea salt towards the finish. Very tasty!
Finish: The finish is medium long, warm and nicely sweet with barley sugar and toffee. This is complemented by oak spice, cloves and a touch of pepper, followed by subtle notes of gauze bandage and hints of peat on the tail.
With water: Less peaty and decreased medicinal flavours on the nose when a few drops of water are added. Stays sweet with some more citric notes. Less sweet on the palate with a slightly decreased warming spiciness. Again, the citric notes dominate here, followed by a slightly peaty and briny touch towards the finish. The finish shows medium length with spicy notes becoming more prominent, such as oak, nutmeg, cloves and pepper.
Comments: A pleasantly smooth and soft blended Island malt displaying good complexity and character. Well balanced with a lovely mixture of sweet, maritime, peaty and fruity notes. Needs time to develop its full flavour profile. Not punchy at all but well composed, gentle and quite pleasant. No need for adding any water!

 

I thank Douglas Laing for the sample and the photograph!


Big Peat Christmas 2016, 'All Islay' Blended Malt, 6th Big Peat Christmas Limited Edition
ABV: 54.6%
Region: Islay
Price per bottle: °°
Bottling: Douglas Laing
Cask type: -- (15.000 btl.)

 

Colour: White wine.
Nose: Fresh on the nose with peat, seaweed and camphor, followed by subtle chimney soot, coal ash and a maritime edge of briny flavours. Behind that, sweet notes make their way with vanilla, barley sugar, cereals, pears and a hint of citric fruits.
Palate: Bold, rich and intense on the palate. Immediately warming spiciness of black pepper, oak, peat and tender coal ash, complemented by a slightly sweetness of vanilla and malted barley. Medicinal with beachy flavours, subtle sea salt and a fruity touch of white peaches and pears in the back. Very tasty!
Finish: The finish is long, very warm and peppery with camphor, gauze bandage, coal ash and subtle peat. A sweet touch of barley sugar and peach on tail.
With water: A few drops of water bring out more of the medicinal flavours on the nose with gauze bandage, camphor, peat and ash, while the freshness, vanilla sweetness and cereal notes are significantly tamed. On the palate, however, the hot spiciness is decreased dramatically bringing more of the barley sugar sweetness, delicate vanilla and fruity flavours to the fore. The finish is a bit shorter with a tender sweetness of vanilla and malted barley, complemented by a slightly warming mix of coal ash, camphor and peat. This is followed by a lingering touch of citric fruit on the tail.
Comments: A full-bodied, gloriously peaty blended malt made with whiskies from all active eight distilleries on Islay's plus long-closed Port Ellen! Very well balanced with a medicinal curtain that unveils delicate sweet, malty and lingering fruity flavours though. A brilliant Islay experience, providing rapid pleasant warmth in the cold time of the year.

 

I thank Douglas Laing for the sample and the photograph!


Timorous Beastie 40yo, Limited Edition, Highland Malt Scotch Whisky
ABV: 54,7%
Region: Highlands
Price per bottle: °°°°°
Bottling: Douglas Laing
Cask type: -- (1,080 btl.)

 

Colour: Bright gold.
Nose: The nose starts off with plenty of vanilla, butterscotch and delicate marzipan. A bit flowery and fruity with dried flowers and tangerines. Sweet notes of cereals nicely linger with ginger, cinnamon, subtle oak and spiced honey in the back. Fresh, clean and very appealing!
Palate: Lovely sweet on the palate with cereals, honey, butterscotch and a touch of citric fruits - tangerine and lemon. This is accompanied by a warm mix of delicate spices - cinnamon, pepper, caramelised ginger, allspice and oak. Slightly bitter notes of grape peel, pink grapefruit and tea leaves towards the finish. Quite pleasant and tasty!
Finish: The finish shows quite good length with creamy and sweet notes of vanilla, barley sugar and honey. Slightly drying notes of oak and tannins on the tail.
With water: Fresh and clean on the nose with a few drops of water. There's even more vanilla coming through, lovely mixed with fruity flavours of lemon and tangerine. Marzipan, oak and spicy notes are all tamed while sweet honey lingers in the back. Very sweet, soft and creamy on the palate with vanilla, cereals, tangerins, apricots and significantly tamed spices. The finish is medium to long, slightly warm with honey and prickling oak on the tail.
Comments: A great and delightful blended malt! Sweet, rich and quite satisfying. Very well balanced with lingering vanilla, delicate fruit, and warm spices. Despite the old age the cask influence is by no means intrusive. A stunningly great dram at a fair price for a 40yo whisky.

 

I thank Douglas Laing for the sample and the photograph!


Scallywag, Small Batch Release, Speyside Blended Malt Scotch Whisky
ABV: 46%
Region: Speyside
Price per bottle: °
Bottling: Douglas Laing
Cask type: Spanish Sherry Butts and American Hogsheads

 

Colour: Deep gold.
Nose: Amazingly sweet on the nose with icing sugar and toffee, accompanied by a lovely fruitiness of sultanas, red apples and sherry-derived flavours. Lingering spicy notes emerge with candied ginger, cinnamon and oak, complemented by sweet vanilla in the back. A gorgeous nose!
Palate: The lovely sweetness continues on the palate. Vanilla and cereals, followed by prunes, raisins and oranges. Slightly warming spices emerge with pepper, caramelised ginger and fine cinnamon, complemented by dark chocolate and prickling oak towards the finish.
Finish: The finish is long with vanilla, zesty orange and sherry, followed by dark chocolate, espresso, spiced oak and a whiff of tobacco leaves.
With water: Water brings out more spices on the nose, while the lingering sweetness and fruity flavours remain present. Creamy, sweet and fruity on the palate with a significantly increased spiciness of oak, nutmeg, ginger and cinnamon. The finish remains long, creamy with vanilla, dark chocolate and a spicy touch of oak and tobacco.
Comments: I was absolutely pleased by the lovely sweetness of this blended malt. The vanilla and toffee notes from the used American bourbon casks pleasantly match with the fruitiness and spiciness of the sherry casks. A perfect marriage of flavours, rich and quite enjoyable neat. A truly entertaining dram and great Speyside whisky!

 

I thank Douglas Laing for the sample and the photograph!


Scallywag, Cask Strength 2016, Limited Edition No. 2
ABV: 54.1%
Region: Speyside
Price per bottle: °°
Bottling: Douglas Laing
Cask type: Bourbon Hogsheads and Sherry Butts (4800 btl.)

 

Colour: Amber.
Nose: Rich on the nose with vanilla, followed by slightly bitter orange marmalade and biscuity dark chocolate. Delicate spice in the back with oak, ginger and fine cinnamon.
Palate: Sweet and chewy with vanilla, red apples and fruit biscuit. After a few monents spicy flavours take over with oak, cloves and cinnamon, followed by a gentle herbal touch. Pleasantly warming with notes of fudge and dark chocolate towards the finish.
Finish: The finish is long, fruity and tender sweet with vanilla, followed by dry notes of dark chocolate, spiced oak, subtle herbs and a hint of cloves on the tail.
With water: There's more of dark fruits coming through on the nose by adding a few drops of water. Rich and intense with more oak, chocolate and cloves. Lovely sweet with vanilla and a delicate orange fruitiness, followed by raisins and dark chocolate, whereas the spiciness is slightly tamed with water. The finish is long, sweet and creamy with dark fruits, raisins, some herbs, chocolate and a hint of cloves and spiced oak.
Comments: A rich, big and bold cask strength edition of Douglas Laing's famous expression Scallywag with plenty of power behind it. Nicely balanced with a focus on the sherried and spicy character rather than the fruity elements of the vaious Speyside malts. Definitely one for the chocolate aficionados.

 

I thank Douglas Laing for the sample and the photograph!


Yula 20yo, 1995-2015, Blended Malt, Limited Release - First Chapter
ABV: 52.6%
Region: Islands
Price per bottle: °°°°
Bottling: Douglas Laing
Cask type: -- (900 btl.)


Colour: Gold.
Nose: Fresh on the nose with malted barley, a touch of peat and lingering smoke with a maritime edge. With time vanilla emerges along with delicate and sweet toffee, followed by a hint of floral notes (parma violet?). Well balanced with perfectly integrated alcohol. A gorgeous nose.
Palate: Bold and intense on the palate with a good whack of spice, cracked black pepper, even chilli's coming through. Hot on the middle with subtle tarry tones. Malted barley and sweet butterscotch arrives complemented by a whiff of floral notes and maybe scent. Extremely mouth-coating with slightly bitter wood tannins. Gentle peat smoke is floating overall.
Finish: Medium to long with sweet malt and slightly violet tones. Warm with lingering peat smoke. Gets drier in the end, with more coaly and dusty notes coming through.
With water: Quite similar to the nose before, maybe a bit tamed overall. The barley and butterscotch sweetness as well as the spiciness are significantly reduced on the palate, with more parma violet coming through, followed by a medium and dry finish.
Comments: A pleasant blended malt with good balance and character. A lovely mature Island whisky which displays an excellent complexity of maritime aromas, peat, smoke, sweet and floral flavours. But please - don't add any water!


I thank Douglas Laing for the sample and the photograph!


Big Peat's Pals, Feis Ile 2017, Limited Edition
ABV: 48.0%
Region: Islay
Price per bottle: °°
Bottling: Douglas Laing
Cask type: Finished in Sherry Casks (1,600 btl.)

 

Colour: Dark gold.
Nose: Fresh on the nose with sea air and subtle peat smoke. Fruity notes of red apples and stewed peaches emerge, nicely intermingling with sherry sweetness, liquorice and a whiff of cinnamon. With time, more and more peat arrives.
Palate: Bold and intense on the palate with a delicate sweetness of barley sugar, red apples and ripe peaches. This is complemented by pepper, peat, ashes and a slightly alcoholic bite. Then sherry arrives, followed by creamy notes of caramel and malt. Gentle peat smoke, tender tobacco leaves and dark chocolate towards the finish.
Finish: The finish is long, warm, sweet and creamy with vanilla, malted barley and soft peat. Becomes slightly dry on the tail with a touch of cocoa, oak, allspice and ashes.

With water: Quite lively on the nose when water is added. There's more smoke and spiciness, while the lovely sherry sweetness is fairly tamed. Still sweet and fruity on the palate with vanilla, malted barley, caramel and apples. The peppery notes are significantly reduced with only subtle warming spices towards the finish. The finish is a bit shorter with vanilla, barley and dark chocolate, nicely wrapped in crisp peat smoke.
Comments: A pleasant and intense blended malt with a nice balance of sweetness, fruitiness and peat smoke. The finish in sherry casks delivers delicate sweet and spicy notes taming a bit of the typical Islay punch. Not entirely complex, but quite a pleasing dram which also tolerates some drops of water.

 

I thank Douglas Laing for the sample and the photograph!


The Epicurean, Small Batch Release 2016, Lowland Blended Malt Scotch Whisky
ABV: 46.2%
Region: Lowlands
Price per bottle: °
Bottling: Douglas Laing
Cask type: --

 

Colour: White wine with a greenish hint.
Nose: Clean and grassy on the nose with an intense barley note and lingering flavours of yellow fruits - apricots, whites peaches and lemon zest. Subtle vanilla and caramel intermingle with floral notes and a whiff of herbs, thyme in particular, in the back. Needs time to develp its full flavour spectrum.
Palate: Still clean on the palate, but juicier than the nose suggests. Sweet and fruity with luscious apricots, peaches, citric notes, and creamy vanilla. This is accompanied by a gentle warm spiciness of oak, white pepper, and subtle ginger. Lovely creamy notes of caramelised sugar in the back.
Finish: The finish is medium long, creamy sweet with sticky apricot jam and slightly warm spices. Grassy with a herbal touch on the tail.
With water: There's almost no change on the nose with a few drops of water. Still sweet and fruity, with floral and herbal tones in the back. On the palate, creamy sweetness mixed with burnt toffee, vanilla and citric flavours, accompanied by spiced oak, cinnamon and crystallised ginger. The finish is still medium long, sweet with lovely apricot jam and a slightly grassy and herbal touch on the tail.
Comments: A generous, grainy and fruity blended malt with a discreet marriage of sweet, spicy and floral/herbal flavours. Seems young but enjoyable, surprised how quaffable this is. A seriously entertaining dram indeed.

 

I thank Douglas Laing for the sample and the photograph!


Rock Oyster Cask Strength, Small Batch Release 2016, Limited Edition No. 1
ABV: 57.4%
Region: Highlands (Orkney, Arran, Jura) and Islay
Price per bottle: °°
Bottling: Douglas Laing
Cask type: --

 

Colour: White wine.
Nose: Fresh and intense on the nose. Delicate vanilla sweetness intermingles with toffee, gentle honey and lemon drops. This is all wrapped in lingering peat smoke. Islay-typical medicinal notes and iodine emerge, beautifully combined with oak, cloves and notes of burnt rubber and coal dust. A maritime edge of briny and beachy flavours lingers with hints of fresh mint and camphor in the back. Very appealing and refreshing!
Palate: A strong taste! Pleasantly sweetness of vanilla and toasted toffee accompanied by delicate notes of lemon, oranges and subtle honey. This is immediately followed by a massive load of hot spices - cracked black pepper, chilli, cloves and oak. Sweet barley mingles with heather and smoke along with some sweeter peat notes. Maritime flavours and a briny coastal edge linger towards the finish.
Finish: Long, warm and lingering sweet with a sligtly bitter touch of citrus peel. Slightly drying with peat becoming dominant alongside the smoke, and a touch of cloves on the tail. Mouth-coating and powerful.
With water: Still powerful on the nose with a splash of water. Vanilla sweetness, delicate spices and a comforting warmth intermingle with a beautiful mix of peat and smoke. Intensely sweet on the palate with lots of vanilla and a beautiful potpourri of yellow fruit, oranges and peaches, complemented by warm spices. Beautiful! The finish is long, sweet and warm with a whiff of peat, smoke and coastal flavours.
Comments: A well put together, rich and powerful blended malt with a gorgeous nose, delicate palate, and intensely long finish! Islay's strong maritime character is well balanced with the peppery and honeyed sweetness of Arran, Jura's citrus notes, and Orkney's input of lingering barley, heather and smoke. A big hit with an impressive intensity. Absolutely perfect for a cold and windy winter's day.

 

I thank Douglas Laing for the sample and the photograph!

Big Peat Christmas 2015, Islay Blended Malt, Limited Release - Big Peat’s 5th Christmas Edition
ABV: 53.8%
Region: Islay
Price per bottle: °°
Bottling: Douglas Laing
Cask type: -- (18,000 btl.)


Colour: Pale straw.
Nose: Fresh on the nose with chimney soot, lingering peat smoke, coal ash and a maritime edge of briny and beachy flavours. Behind the smoke screen, delicate floral and fruit notes make their way with malted barley, marshmallows, vanilla and a touch of citrus. Notes of pine wood arrive with fresh mint and camphor in the back. No doubt: Islay on the nose!
Palate: Smooth and deliciously sweet. Liquorice, fruit, somewhat lemony and peaty with ash. Big spicy and hot flavours immediately arrive with cracked black pepper and chilli, complemented by bonfire smoke, peat and soot. The salty feel on the tongue becomes sweeter with dark honey, milk chocolate and lingering nutty barley.
Finish: Long, nice, warm and honey sweet. Soothing on lingering bitter citrus notes. Slightly drying with smoke becoming dominant alongside the peat, and a touch of bitter chocolate on the tail.
With water: As expected, water almost kills the fruit leaving maritime notes, peat, smoke, ash and sooty chimney flavours on the nose. The sweetness, however, remains stable on the palate along with hot and bold spicy flavours and lingering citrus notes. The finish is long and warm with a delicate sticky sweetness of honey on the tongue, accompanied by pleasant and satisfying peat smoke.
Comments: A pleasant and intense blended malt with a great balance of smoke and sweetness. A gorgeous nose and delicate palate! The peat smoke is very well present. A sooty curtain which unveils luscious sweet, malty and lingering citrus notes though. A fantastic Islay experience, great for a winter's eve. Too bad enjoying this beauty on Christmas day only!


I thank Douglas Laing for the sample and the photograph!


Blended Malt XO, 2016, Limburg Dramclub - Club Bottling No. 6
ABV: 46.3%
Region: Scotland
Price per bottle: °°
Bottling: eSpirits Whisky for Limburg Dramclub
Cask type: Sherry Wood

 

Colour: Gold.
Nose: Immediately peat on the nose with a whiff of smoke. Quite "dirty". Behind that curtain notes of grain lovely mixed with a nice fruitiness of plums and dark berries emerge, followed by a touch of cinnamon and oak in the back. Quite impressive!
Palate: Bold and intense on the palate. Sweet and spicy at the same time with a fruity influence of plums, dark berries and raisins, complemented by oak, cinnamon, white pepper and nutmeg. Stays sweet with a pleasant warmth towards the finish.
Finish: The finish is long, warming and sweet with sticky plum jam, nicely wrapped in fine peat and smoke.
With water: Water enhances the delicate sweetness and fruitiness of plums pushing the peaty and smoky flavours in the back. Oak and a touch of cloves emerge. Concurrently sweet and spicy on the palate with dark fruits, oak and pepper, followed by creamy acacia honey and slightly dry oak. The finish is medium long, sweet with stewed plums and slightly warming. Spiced oak with tender peat and smoke on the tail. Very dry in the end.
Comments: This is quite an intense and rich blended malt. Nicely complex and multi-layered. Well matured with a pleasant balance of plums, spices and peat. The concurrent battle of sweetness and spiciness is amazing with additional support from peat and smoke. An impressive dram which needs some time to develop its full flavour profile. A well chosen bottling for the Limburg Dramclub!

 

I thank Dailydram.de for the sample and the photograph!


Burnside 22yo, 1993-2015, Private Collection, Five Lions
ABV: 55.5%
Region: Speyside
Price per bottle: °°°
Bottling: Five Lions
Cask type: Second Fill Oloroso Sherry Hogshead

 

Colour: Pale gold.
Nose: Fruity and fresh on the nose. Rich notes of apricots, passion fruit and tangerine emerge with a delicate mix of vanilla and cinnamon in the back. Very appealing!
Palate: Sweet and nicely fruity start on the palate, immediately followed by a massive load of warming spices - cracked black pepper, oak, cinnamon and caramelized ginger. Once the spicy warmth fades notes of sticky sweetness with honey and apricots jam nicely intermingle with a whiff of oak towards the finish.
Finish: The finish is medium long and deliciously sweet with sticky honey and stewed yellow fruit, with a slightly dry aftertaste of oak and cinnamon.
With water: Lovely fruity on the nose with a few drops of water, accompanied with a creamy sweetness. Sweet, and fruity on the palate with tangerine, apricots and a still intense notes of spices - pepper, cinnamon and oak. The finish is medium long, warm and sticky sweet with stewed apricots and crisp oak on the tail.
Comments: A deliciously fruity, creamy sweet and well balanced blended malt. The 2nd-fill oloroso sherry hogshead provided a mellow aroma of fruit and sweetness, however, the spiciness of the oak is very present. A liquid dessert. Reminds me of a rich Balvenie. Lovely and superb, pleasantly tasty.

 

I thank Joe Seidel from Joe's Malt Shop for the sample and Five Lions for the photograph!


Peatside 5yo, Blended Malt, Heidelberg Highlands
ABV: 62.3%
Region: Islay (T-spooned with Speyside Single Malt)
Price per bottle: °°
Bottling: Heidelberg Highlands
Cask type: 1st-Fill Bourbon Cask (4yo) with 1st-Fill Port Finish (22 months)

 

Colour: Reddish gold.
Nose: A deliciously fruity start on the nose with plum jam, red berries - strawberry, and blueberry - nicely wrapped in smooth peat and bonfire smoke. With time, subtle notes of toffee and vanilla emerge, followed by barley sugar and a hint of citrus. Soft, crisp and lovely warm with tender spiced oak in the back. A gorgeous nose!
Palate: Sweet and fruity start on the palate with plum jam, and stewed red fruit, immediately followed by a significant note of bonfire, delicate peat and lovely hot spices - cracked black pepper, oak, cinnamon and cloves. Once this pleasant warmth fades, lingering notes of caramel, vanilla and malted barley arrive, nicely intermingled with cold peat smoke and spiced oak.
Finish: The finish is endlessly long, warm, and slightly soothing with a nice malty sweetness, lingering fruity flavours and a herbal touch, with a hint of peat on the tail.
With water: Less fruity and smoky on the nose with a splash of water, while toffee and tender chocolate notes are coming to the fore. Lovely mix of sweet barley, dark stewed fruit and warm spices - oak, pepper, ginger and cloves on the palate. The finish is very long, warm, and sweet. Turns into a dry aftertaste with peat, oak and tender smouldering wood.
Comments: This is a fantastic dram! A very young Islay single malt of unknown origin, with an almost two years finish in first-fill port cask. The Islay peat smoke is present but lovely integrated and well balanced with the fruitiness and richness of the wine cask. The additional maturation has amplified a sweet side to this islander. An outstanding example that smoky and peaty Islay single malt harmonizes in a perfect manner with fruity flavours given by the port wine cask. Well chosen by the folks from Heidelberg Highlands!

 

I thank Joe Seidel from Joe's Malt Shop for sample and photograph!


Westport 18yo, 1997-2015, Private Collection, Five Lions
ABV: 59.7%
Region: Scotland
Price per bottle: °°°°
Bottling: Five Lions
Cask type: 1st Fill Sherry Butt

 

Colour: Deep amber.
Nose: The nose starts off with delicate sherry flavours and a significant note of spiciness. Ripe dark fruit emerge with cherries and raisins, complemented by nougat, chocolate and subtle flavours of roasted nutts. The alcohol is quite present but not pungent. Slightly earthy tones mingle with a whiff of salt and mint in the back. Rich and intense!
Palate: Bold and strong on the palate with a lovely mix of sherry, coffee and intense roasted notes. Sticky fruity sweetness, complemented by a massive load of warm, even hot spiciness. Oak, dry tannins, cloves and cracked black pepper become dominant with a slightly astringent finish, deliciously mixed with lingering notes of cocoa.
Finish: The finish is medium long, warm and dry with a pleasant nuttiness, tobacco notes and a slightly bitter herbal touch on the tail.
With water: Significantly tamed with a splash of water on the nose. Restrained sherry aroma with a lovely fruitiness and a whiff of spiced oak. Creamy and soft on the palate with sweet sherry, and stewed fruit, followed by a smooth warm spiciness and tingling oak on the midpalate. The finish is medium long with a pleasant sticky fruitiness on the tongue, lingering notes of walnut and a whiff of bitter herbs.
Comments: A robust, expressive and exciting dram! Rich, intense with lots of depth and power. The alcohol is not negligible but well integrated and emphasizes the fruitiness and the spiciness of this T-spooned blended malt. Ample sweet with a fascinating spicy profile and a bold woody backbone. Nothing for the faint-hearted.

 

I thank Joe Seidel from Joe's Malt Shop for the sample and Five Lions for the photograph!


Christmas Malt 2015 (Blended Malt), The Nose Art, 2001-2015, Whisky-Doris
ABV: 45.8%
Region: --
Price per bottle: °°
Bottling: Whisky-Doris
Cask type: Sherry Butt (#116, 395 btl.)

 

Colour: Amber.
Nose: Rich and fresh on the nose with gentle sherry flavours and voluminous yellow ripe fruit - apricot, mirabelle, gooseberry and subtle banana. The alcohol is perfectly integrated and balanced by the fruit, pleasant vanilla and a hint of citrus notes. Plums and raisins emerge with time, complemented by dark honey and spice. Very complex!
Palate: Sweet honey and lots of exotic yellow fruits on the palate, immediately followed by pleasant and intense oak spice, cinnamon and lingering marzipan. Creamy and warming with layers of mixed fruits, sherry and delicious nutty notes. Well-textured and tasty.
Finish: A medium-long and pleasantly warming finish with stewed fruit, sticky sweet honey, gentle hazelnut, cinnamon and slightly drying oak on the tail.
With water: Even fresher on the nose with lots of fruits and delicate sherry. Increased fruitiness on the palate along with a delicate and warming mix of various spices. The finish is medium in length with a nice harmony of fruits and spice. Very delicate.
Comments: This is an awesome dram with a fantastic complex nose. Great balance of fruitiness and spiciness. A really attractive, beautifully rounded, characterful, and elegant blended malt with a lovely spicy character. Well done!

 

I thank Whisky-Doris (Versandhandel Doris Debbeler) for sample and photograph!


Speyside Hero II 9yo, 2006-2015, The Whisky Chamber
ABV: 59.7%
Region: Speyside
Price per bottle: °°
Bottling: The Whisky Chamber
Cask type: Ex-sherry hogshead (#900199, 276 btl.)


Colour: Dark amber.
Nose: Once you pour this in a glass, lots of sherry catches your nose immediately. There's alcohol of course - almost 60% abv! - but not pungent at all, nougat, toffee and dark chocolate. This is complemented by dried fruit, plums and raisins. Lateron, flavours of toasted bread along with nougat and nutty tones appear. Mouth-watering.
Palate: Surprisingly soft and sweet at the beginning with sherry, brown sugar and nougat before the spiciness hits your tongue. The high alcohol content almost anaesthetises your mouth with subtle plum marmalade coming through. Bold and sticky.
Finish: Medium length and warm finish with a delicate sweetness complemented by prickling spice. Gets drier in the end with nougat, toasted bread, chocolate and lingering hazelnuts.
With water: Increased sweetness and more nougat on the nose with a huge amount of delicate spices on the tongue. Sticks on your tongue for hours with delicious toffee, nougat and nutty flavours. Increasingly mouth-coating.
Comments: A well-rounded, powerful blended malt whisky with a delicate balance of nougat and spice. A perfect after dinner dram. A little water helps to drink one or two drams more.


I thank the German independent bottler The Whisky Chamber for the sample.