About This Dram
This June and July we are going to be exploring the art of blending. Whether that’s blending different cask types together to produce a full and rich single malt like our last dram, the Octomore 08.2. Or a blend of malts and grains from different distilleries. Or maybe even a blend of different grain distillates from the same distillery! There’s much to explore, and hopefully, by the end of it all, we’ll have a much better appreciation for the “B” word.
This release is an utterly unique special edition, and ties in perfectly with next week’s Indy Showcase 3. Douglas Laing have made quite a name for themselves in the world of Blended Malts – a world that is enjoying a wonderful revival recently. They have a series known as the Remarkable Regional Malts, which highlights the flavour styles traditionally associated with each region
Now, you’ve probably heard me mention before that I don’t think that regions are as important as people often credit them to be (flavour-wise, not history-wise). These days there are seemingly as many exceptions to the “rules” as there are followers. This series of malts is a really interesting idea, however, as not only does each of the malts contain only liquid from their represented region – but they absolutely nail the stereotypical style that goes along with it.
Big Peat is every bit the smoke bomb you would expect from an Islay. Rock Oyster (or its new name Rock Island) is the perfect maritime dram. Gauldrons has that wonderful mineral “funk” you expect from Campbeltown. Epicurean is that light citrusy lowlander. Scallywag is the sherry-bomb Speysider. And last but not least, we have the Timorous Beastie – the malty vanilla and honey-driven Highland. Each of these malts are given a wonderfully illustrated mascot to accompany their personality.
So what’s the twist? What is this special edition all about? Well, for the 70th anniversary of the company Douglas Laing decided that instead of concentrating on one region – they would pay homage to all of them at once! “With A Twist” takes liquid that was destined for all of their regional malts, and blends them together in beautiful harmony to paint a picture of Scotland as a whole. It’s malty, fruity, salty, smoky, lemony and even a touch funky all in one bottle.
They had fun with the concept and branding (the tube allows you to put different characters’ heads on different bodies by twisting it!) but when it came down to designing the malt, they were dead serious. It would have been easy for them to throw something together and give it a fun gimmick – but they put the miles in and created a stunning homage to the flavour map of Scotland. Cheery Douglas Laing – and happy anniversary!
Green pears, sweet malt, and salted licorice greeted us on the first sniff. The second revealed a light delicate smoke with dried grass, sea air, blueberries, and mocha.
On the palate, the smoke was an enigma. Soft and gentle, yet with a strong presence throughout. There was thick-cut orange rind marmalade, grape skins, and rhubarb pie. The finish was soft and creamy like a decadent vanilla semolina dessert made with “gold top” milk.