I was selected as one of the lucky tweet tasters for the Douglas Laing @DLaingWhisky #BigPeat tweet tasting hosted by @TheWhiskyWire on the eve of the 21st of May 2014. Big thanks to DouglasLaing, Steve Rush and all the fellow tweet tasters for the great evening! Worthy of a repetition in my book!
In preparation for the tasting we all received a lovely little package from Scotland (see picture on the right). It contained five mystery samples (which were tasted blind) and a few assorted goodies like a bottle of rainwater, peat cones (to fill the air with lovely peat flavour), an Islay pebble to chill our dram on hot summer days and a mystery key to Big Peat’s house (still waiting on this mystery to be solved…) – all in all a very lovely package – very well thought out!
Without further ado, here’s my tasting notes for the five drams:
#1 Douglas Laing Provenance Caol Ila – Young & Feisty 46% 2009/2014, 2 refill hoggies
Colour: gin clear
Nose: medium peaty, slightly earthy, grassy and floral (freshly mown flowerbed), quite young and closed up, not revealing much. Some iodine? Very faint fruit notes (green pears) appearing after some time in the glass.
Palate: Sweet, salty, earthy, iodine, dark chocolate, dark fruits (raisins, figs) and oily, not as smoky as the nose suggested, bit metallic and young’ish
Finish: sweet and peaty, slightly metallic, medium long
Verdict: A very young, kicking, iodine and fruity sweet peat monster
#2 Douglas Laing Provenance Laphroaig 8yo 46% 2005/2014 refill hogshead
Colour: white wine
Nose: fresh, orange and lemon zests, liquorice, gummi bears, banana, unripe pears, blackcurrant, hints of tropical fruits on smoky bog oak held together by a leather belt
Palate: blackcurrant juice, pears, salt, white pepper, a bit of old leather couch, liquorice, pretty light – where did the peat go?
Finish: Initially kicking, peppery, juicy sweet yet leathery, medium long
Verdict: A very interesting (blackcurrant? Seriously?) nose but slightly less complex and intriguing on the palate. Still a nice dram, though!
#3 Douglas Laing Old Particular Bowmore 12yo 48,3% 2001/2014 refill hogshead
Colour: white wine
Nose: very refined and subtle after the olfactory onslaught from the previous drams. smoked bacon, grilled pineapple, vanilla, banana, mango, salt, fresh ginger, rubber
Palate: extremely sweet, mouthwatering, smoked dried fruits – raisins, figs, dates, dark yet sweet chocolate, thick caramel
Finish: sweet, initially kicking on the alcohol, warming, absolutely no dryness
Verdict: Wow, now that’s a great combination of smoke, salt and extremely sweet notes – didn’t expect that at all judging from the colour. Very, very nice indeed.
#4 Big Peat Islay Blended Malt 46%
Colour: white wine
Nose: Fresh, zesty (oranges, lemons), salty, white pepper, iodine peat and bonfire smoke in the background, grassy but not earthy, rather light, very little sweetness
Palate: sugary sweetness (cane sugar?), vanilla, very well integrated yet noticeable peat, well rounded, cucumber and caramel sweets
Finish: warming and quite dark, liquorice, lingering peat
Verdict: An intriguing dram, nicely put together without anything standing out – great session malt. (Note afterwards: So this is Big Peat. Good bang for the buck. Ha! I guessed that one!
#5 Douglas Laing Old Particular Ardbeg 23yo 53,1%, 1991/2014
Colour: pale straw
Nose: Oranges! Oranges! Oranges! Orange, zest, orange juice, fresh juice oranges…. the lot! Some tangerines too and some lemon rind. Peat? Well, maybe just a hint. More fruits – Mango, ripe pears, plums, figs, mashed old banana. Someone just mentioned bubble gum on the twitter feed – I agree. Cointreau, oddly. Some nuts also – almonds methinks. Cask spices but not old and musty – good cask!
Palate: More of the intense fruitiness going on here, lemon juice mixed with fresh tangerines, peaches and apricots – a summer fruit salad on the palate. oily, slightly waxy, kicking alcohol, mellowed and well-aged peat
Finish: Very mellow and sweet, lingering with a slight hint of oak coming through in the end
Verdict: Oh wow, this is summer fruit par excellence – absolutely delicious
Wow, now that was a great and enjoyable evening! Thanks to everyone involved. My personal favourite was the 23 year old Ardbeg – an absolutely stunning dram – with just 114 bottles being released soon this one’s probably gonna be too $$$ for my wallet, but I’m gonna have to get my follow-up favourite, dram #3 – the 12yo Bowmore!