North British 23yo, 1995-2019, Single Grain, Old Particular
ABV: 51.5%
Region: Lowlands
Price per bottle: °°
Bottling: Douglas Laing
Cask type: Refill Barrel (# DL13504, 183 btl.)


Colour: White wine.
Nose: Buttery sweetness with vanilla, cereals and brown sugar. Behind it citrus fruits and slightly spicy with laurel and some floral notes. Multi-layered and nicely attractive.
Palate: Very sweet start on the palate with maple syrup and vanilla. Then warming with a light peppery note, a hint of oak and some ginger spiciness. Slightly herbaceous with heather and thyme, followed by sweet blossom honey and some toffee towards the finish.
Finish: Long lasting with creamy vanilla, a touch of toffee, sticky honey, some nutty aromas and dry notes of heather and oak towards the end.
With water: After adding a few drops of water, this single grain becomes spicier and tangier with aromas of vanilla, toffee and herbs, accompanied by distinct citrus fruits. Remains sweet on the palate with vanilla, toffee and hazelnut, accompanied by significantly more spices and notes of cough drops. The finish is a little shorter, creamy with vanilla, herbal notes and some dry oak.
Comments: This buttery single grain whisky from the North British distillery is definitely on the sweet side with a well integrated alcohol. It shows a nice balance of sweetness, spices and herbal aromas. The 23-year maturing period requires a good deal of air in the glass before the full variety of flavours of the grain comes into play. With or without the addition of water a delicious drinking pleasure.


I thank Douglas Laing for the photograph!

North British 55yo, 1962-2017, XOP - Xtra Old Particular
ABV: 41.0%
Region: Lowlands
Price per bottle: °°°°°
Bottling: Douglas Laing
Cask type: Refill Hogshead (# DL11786, 221 btl.)


Colour: Amber.
Nose: Sweet and spicy at first with vanilla and acacia honey. Hints of mushrooms - like taking a walk in the woods on an autumnal morning. Then oranges (not the juicy but more the overripe ones) and milk chocolate arrive, followed by toffee and spices - mainly oak and ginger. With time, notes of leather and tobacco (cigar box) emerge in the back.
Palate: Wow - I wasn't expecting this intensity. Big, intense and rich. A lovely mix of spicy sweetness - acacia honey, cinnamon, caramel, vanilla and spiced oak. A big mouthfeel! Slightly bitter orange peel, tobacco notes and leather towards the finish. Very tasty!
Finish: The finish is long, slightly warm, sweet and pleasantly spicy. Becomes drier towards the finish with fairly amounts of oak, leather, tobacco and cloves.
With water: Fresh on the nose with a few drops of water. Sweet toffee and vanilla with a tamed spiciness of acacia honey and oak. The lovely sweetness is significantly decreased on the palate together with a tamed spiciness. However, the single grain becomes fairly dry with oak, cloves and notes of cough syrup. The finish is still long and less warming with only a hint of creamy and sweet vanilla,  followed by very dry notes of oak, cedarwood and cloves.
Comments: This single grain whisky has spent unbelievable 55 years in a single cask. A superb and high quality dram, not (too) overpowered by the wood (if no water is added!). A lot is going on here and the grain needs a fairly amount of time to develop its full aroma. Lovely nose and complex palate with a long and woody finish. Another brilliant example how great grain whisky can be.


I thank Douglas Laing for the sample and the photograph!

North British 24yo, 1991-2015, Single Grain, Old Particular
ABV: 49.4%
Region: Lowlands
Price per bottle: °°°
Bottling: Douglas Laing
Cask type: Refill Hogshead (# DL11005, 256 btl.)


Colour: Pale straw.
Nose: The nose starts off with light yellow fruit - apricots and subtle carambola. Sweet vanilla and toffee emerge, mixed with sugared almonds, acacia honey, and gentle banana bread with soft grain notes. Substantial and attractive.
Palate: Sweet, creamy and soft on the palate with lots of vanilla and toffee. Sherbety with yellow fruit and a slightly warming spiciness of oak, pepper, ginger and subtle nutmeg. Stimulates salivation with silky notes of honey towards the finish.
Finish: The finish is long and rich. Sweet notes of vanilla, toffee and acacia honey pleasantly linger with sticky yellow fruit jam and slightly spiced oak on the tail.
With water: There's almost no change on the nose with a splash of water. Slightly meaty notes are added to the pleasant sweetness. Water enhances a bit of the oaky spiciness getting fizzy and tickling on the tongue while the creamy sweetness and fruity elements are still present. Quickly fading on the finish with a light astringency.
Comments: This single grain whisky is definitely on the sweet side with a well mastered alcohol. Good balance and good character. A bit uni-dimensional though. It might lack the layering you want from a 24 year old. I wonder what this would be like with another few more years of maturation. Nonetheless, a delicate and rich whisky.


I thank Douglas Laing for the sample and the photograph!