Thursday, 17 August 2017

#GBMM2017 Douglas Laing Single Grains

On Saturday 12th August Maltman Mike organised and ran a little whisky tasting shindig at the House Of Malt in Carlisle #GBMM2017!

Jan, the Global Malt Ambassador for Douglas Laing popped down from Glasgow to share some of their Single Grain collection.

Established in 1948, Douglas Laing is a proud family business in its third generation, purveyor of the finest Scotch Whisky with particular focus on artisan, Small Batch and Single Cask bottlings. They have 3 main ranges:

Remarkable Regional Malts - a series of regional blends, both NAS and aged.

Old Particular Malts - a series of regional aged malts and grains.

Xtra Old Particular Malts - a series of extra special regional aged malts and grains.

It was from the Grains Old Particular range which Jan had come to talk to us about.

Jan had obviously done this a few times before (!) and had plenty of marketing material and a swish presentation to show. he gave an overview of the history of the company and his career then explained how they purchase single casks and even new make spirit to mature. Their current stock ranges in age from 0 to 55 years old!

First up was the Port Dundas 12yo

Distillery : Port Dundas (closed in 2010)
Whisky : 12yo Single Grain (one of 557 bottles, cask 11665)
Characteristics : 700ml, 48.4% ABV. NCF Non-coloured
Price : £35
Colour : Pale Gold
Nose : Nail varnish, acetone, and a little icing sugar.
Palate : Digestive biscuits - drying, some of the icing sugar.
Finish : Very short with a little spice.
Overall : Slightly rough, even though it was 12 yo! Probably 4th out of the 4 single grains we tried.

Pairing : A little surprise to all of us was when Jan came out with some food pairing for the drams - in this case it was Belgium Lotus Biscuits! Jan encouraged us to chew a little biscuit then take in a little whisky and chew together! I'm not normally one for food pairings but I do like these biscuits and the mix was interesting!

Next up was the Loch Lomond 19yo

Distillery : Loch Lomond
Whisky : 19yo Single Grain (one of 341 bottles, cask 11184)
Characteristics : 700ml, 51.5% ABV. NCF Non-coloured
Price : £55
Colour : Pale Gold
Nose : Nail varnish, acetone, very similar to the Port Dundas but with a little sweetness.
Palate : Bread dough and a little hazelnut with some spicy pepper..
Finish : Again quite short with a bit of a kick from the high ABV.
Overall : Not a bad dram, only a little stronger than the Port Dundas but tasted a lot stronger!

Pairing : This time it was Lemon Drizzle cake which Jan suggested he'd made at home but they looked rather like Mr Kipling's to me! Again an interesting combination - the Lemon and the nuttiness in the dram worked well together!

Third grain was the Strathclyde 25yo

Distillery : Strathclyde
Whisky : 25yo Single Grain (one of 116 bottles, cask 11335)
Characteristics : 700ml, 51.5% ABV. NCF Non-coloured
Price : £65
Colour : Pale Gold
Nose : Totally different from the previous two,Vanilla.on the nose with a honey sweetness.
Palate : Tongue coating, oily. Digestive biscuits again, this time with orange.
Finish : Slightly longer than the previous two with some spice and the vanilla coming through.
Overall : A delicious dram, no good I decided to buy a bottle at the end of the night! Unfortunately Vin jumped in front of me in the queue and nabbed the last bottle.....

Pairing : With this dram, Jan offered us Millionaire's Shortbread (this time looking remarkably similar to Salisbury's in-store variety) the sweetness of the cake (chocolate and toffee) matched the sweetness in the whisky - very pleasant!

Jan explain just how interesting Grain Distilleries are to visit (Not!)

Our final grain of the night was the Girvan 26yo

Distillery : Girvan
Whisky : 26yo Single Grain (one of 225 bottles, cask 11061)
Characteristics : 700ml, 51.5% ABV. NCF Non-coloured
Price : £75
Colour : Pale Gold
Nose : Very sweet brown sugar with a little vanilla.
Palate : Again tongue coating, oily. Toffee and vanilla with a little spice.
Finish : Some dried fruit and vanilla.
Overall : Not as good as the Strathcylde but better than the Port Dundas and Loch Lomond! Obviously by this time in the evening my nose and palate were starting to complain especially with the sweetness of this last one - a pause and a large drink of water were in order!

Pairing: Plain shortbread rounds this time - but it was just too much sugar and sweetness!

Overall a really interesting set of grain whiskies, all were much better than the grains I tried before and I even though I was going to buy one to take away! I know most grain whisky goes into blends, not I'd suggest the older single grains are definitely worth trying and Douglas Laing have a few that you can!

Some people had more cakes than others....