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Singlemalting #239 – 6th Edition Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar Day 13 – Arran 21 Year Old

Another first for any of our editions today we present a 21 year old single cask of Arran bottled by Douglas Laing. I have been looking forward to this one as I have had some truly delicious Arran expressions over the years but few of this age.

Arran distillery was founded in 1994 by the former director of Chivas Harold Currie. There were at one time more than a dozen mostly illicit stills operating on Arran. In 2019 the Lagg distillery also owned by Arran was opened at the South end of the Isle of Arran and begining distilling in April. This 21 year old expression was distilled only a few years after the distillery began production and is a rare cask indeed.

Arran Distillery

Douglas Laing Old Particular Arran 21 Year Old Distilled in 1996 – Islands – Refill Bourbon Barrel # 12357 – 52% abv

Colour:         Pale straw. Real signs of the refill Bourbon cask that has had very little impact on the colour after 21 long years. Amazing.

Nose:            I was very excited for this as I love what a refill cask does for whisky when it’s aged for a long time. I was expecting a lot of fresh notes and boy did this deliver. Delicate, delicate, delicate. This is absolutely right up my alley. Most of you know that I love drams that exhibit delicate complexities that I have to spend time to coax out of the glass. Morning glory and honeysuckle. Lychee in syrup. Werther’s original caramels.

Palate:           Oh so soft and velvety on the palate. Orange creams, tinned pineapple, King Island cream. My wife Cindy got raspberry pop rocks (you need to be our age to remember those).

Finish:         A building warmth the more sips I take. The flavors linger all the way down and seem to overtake my entire core. The fruits just linger on and on and are a true testament to the gentle nature of this cask. There are almost no woody or oaky notes here. The creamy orange citrus and that tiny piece of tinned pinapple is the last note for me.

What a treat to have such an old Arran. Rare as hen’s teeth these casks. Thanks so much Douglas Laing for parting with this and making our adventure this year just a little more fun.

On this day in our 5th edition we had the truly amazing Auchinderom Peated that is still available in very limited quantities from Secret Spirits. Hope that we kept up the tradition of the lucky 13 with this delicious Arran.

Go and check out our guest Youtubers at Single Malt Review in New Zealand. Whisky Whistle in Canada and Scotch Test Dummies in the US. Plus the bonus Food Quig reviews.

Tomorrow we are off to Speyside but this time staying away from the sherry for a distillery that has seen its share of calendar appearances.

Hope you are all going to enjoy the sleigh ride down the whisky adventure mountain all the way into Christmas town.

Until tomorrow may you glass be full and your life relaxed enough to enjoy it.



Singlemalting #236 – 6th Edition Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar Day 10 Big Peat

G’day all of you peat heads out there. Sorry for the delay this year in getting around to some serious peat. With all of the sherry votes we had this year we just had to make sure that we were off to a very sherried Christmas.

The peat votes also had a win and we promise that there are one or two more peated expressions in the 6th edition than there have been in the past. Good things come to them that wait I guess.

So today we are back with Douglas Laing and their well known Big Peat brand. Funny story here in that this was supposed to be the limited release cask strength Christmas edition of the Big Peat but some wires got crossed at the warehouse and we got the 46% edition instead. Whoops. By the time the mistake was caught it was too late and so here we are. Delicious anyway but wow that Christmas cask strength Big Peat was pretty special.

All of the single malts contained in this skillful blend are from Islay and this was the first of Douglas Laing’s regional brands. We have already had the Scallywag earlier this edition. Can anyone name the other of the trio?

Douglas Laing’s Big Peat

Douglas Laing Big Peat Blended Malt Scotch Whisky – Islay – Bourbon Casks – 46% abv

Colour:          Very light and now the front runner for the lightest colour this edition so far. Sauvignon Blanc.

Nose:              Baaaad Medicine is what I need……. sorry throwback to the 80’s there. Definite medicinal note along with some latex, pencil shavings, eraser dust, and vegemite. Love these notes and the fact that all of this is fantastic is why Islay whisky is so cool.

Palate:           Whoa ok big medicinal hit with some iodine, burnt rubber, salt, a wisp of smoke here but this is all about what that peat brings to the table.

Finish:          Very warming all the way down and all of the above lingers and coats the palate, throat, tongue, breath. I can even still smell the stuff seeping out of my glencairn from a foot away. It’s like some sort of Islay presence has possessed all my olfactory senses.

This is a really great balanced islay dram for every time the urge hits you that nothing other than beastly peat with fix. Having not had this until out trip to Scotland in May I can see why this has been such a popular brand for Douglas Laing.

Great blending work again from DL. Phew well hopefully that should hold the peaties for a wee bit.

On day 10 in the 5th edition we had the Secret Spirits Royal Brackla 11 Year Old that is still available in full bottle size.

You know you want to go and check out our guest Youtubers at Single Malt Review in New Zealand. Whisky Whistle in Canada and Scotch Test Dummies in the US. Plus the bonus Food Quig reviews.

Tomorrow we get back to something a little tamer and get back into something from Secret Spirits. There may or may not be sherry involved again hehehe.





Just do it. Check out our guest Youtubers at Single Malt Review in New Zealand. Whisky Whistle in Canada and Scotch Test Dummies in the US. Plus the bonus Food Quig.

Singlemalting #233 – 6th Edition Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar Day 7 Scallywag

Welcome to the end of the first full week. Cindy and I hope that your whisky adventuring has been fun so far. Today we try something from a very good independent bottler with a long history of exceptional casks and brands. Douglas Laing is a welcome addition to the list of indies that we have featured over the years.

Today much like with Wemyss Malts in the past we are going to explore one of Douglas Laings iconic blended malts, Scallywag.

Including malts from Mortlach, Macallan and Glenrothes, Scallywag is made up entirely of Speyside distilleries. As most of you know I love a good blended malt and we always highlight at least a handful in each edition.

Scallywag Blended Malt from Douglas Laing

Douglas Laing Scallywag Blended Malt Scotch Whisky – 46% abv – Sherry and Bourbon casks – Speyside

Colour:        Rose gold that hints at the sherry casks used in this small batch blended malt.

Nose:            The local tuck shop from my childhood where I would take my hard earned pocket money and buy a mixed bag of lollies (sweets). Musk sticks, fruit jubes, wine gums, and sherbet. Strawberry Chupa Chup.

Palate:        Lovely soft array of sweet fruit and candy begins the journey but allows some earthier elements to climb aboard. A touch of Christmas spice and a bowl of macadamia nuts.

Finish:       A hint of ginger snap spices up the finish. This is just a lovely dram and could happily stay in my glass (with additional pours) for hours.

Yep I love a good blended malt and this is just plain fabulous drinking. Great as an every night dram that won’t break the budget but is a cut above a lot of your usual suspect shelf warmers.

Last edition on day 7 we had another (cough) blended malt (teaspooned cask) from yet another outstanding independent bottler Adelphi. The Breath of Speyside was truly amazing.

I hope you have been heading over to our guest Youtubers at Single Malt Review in New Zealand. Whisky Whistle in Canada and Scotch Test Dummies in the US. I have seen that we also have a few more that are running through our calendar this year including Food Quig who always has a very thoughtful and detailed taste of each and every dram.

Tomorrow we are back to another single cask dram from Secret Spirits from a distillery that I have had a long and delicious relationship with.

Really looking forward to your company as we start off the second week of this our 6th Scottish whisky tour.

Until then sleep tight and dream of whisky.