The North Shore Whisky Club hosted a tasting that featured the best of what Scotland’s scotch regions had to offer…what a way to travel!
Scotland’s scotch regionality
It’s not news that Scotland has many different scotch regions, and it’s not news to say that those regions each have their own unique flavor signature. What is interesting is when the scotch is blended to represent and highlight the best of what each region has to offer, and we get to taste all those regions in one lineup. That’s what I got to experience last week at a tasting event from the North Shore Whisky Club when Joe Swanson presented the Remarkable Regional Malts collection from Douglas Laing & Co. It was a celebration of the map of Scotland, and a good time was had by all.
Douglas Liang & Co gives a nice definition as to what they’re trying to accomplish: “Blended Malt Scotch Whisky: Previously known in the industry as “Vatted” Malt … “Blended Malt” differs from simply “Blended” Whisky in that it contains no Grain Whisky, and is therefore widely considered a superior category. Our Remarkable Regional Malts … are Blended Malt Scotch Whiskies, combining the spirit from some of the regions’ finest Distilleries to produce the ultimate territorial tastes of Scotland. If a Single Malt is a violin, you might consider a Blended Malt an entire orchestra.”
Mission accomplished, I would say. Rather than my usual tasting notes list, let’s look at the individual scotch regions as represented by each expression. Each description (in italics) is from Douglas Liang’s website, but the tasting notes are mine.
Note: As an added bonus, Joe brought us an offering from Gordon & Macphail, and it was a real treat…a cask strength Craigellachie 19yr. Yum!
Buckle up…here goes…
Douglas Liang & Co and Gordon & Macphail Scotch Whisky Tasting
Presented by the North Shore Whisky Club, hosted by Joe Swanson, March 9, 2018
Douglas Laing & Co. Epicurean
- Nose: cotton candy, grassy, peaches, malt grain
- Taste: grass, cardamom, pepper hits, green apple, light body
- Finish: spice fades to herbal, mossy
- Comments: light, bright, spring in a glass, very good
Douglas Laing & Co. Timorous Beastie
- Nose: cooked fruit, raisins, toffee brittle, malted grains, lightly grassy
- Taste: malted grain, oak, white pepper rises, coriander, oatmeal, medium body, slightly chewy, walnuts
- Finish: the lemon-influence fades to oatmeal
- Comments: the sweetness is balanced by oatmeal
Douglas Laing & Co. Scallywag
- Nose: raisins, prunes, clover honey, vanilla, lightly cereal
- Taste: malted grain, soft entry, buttery, mentholated, thick, pepper goes up the sinuses
- Finish: menthol left after everything fades, a hint of sherry notes
- Comments: misleading...starts cereal ends minty, the sherry is subtle
Douglas Laing & Co. Scallywag 13yr
- Nose: vanilla fudge, slight raisin, oaky, pine
- Taste: soft and silky, pine, light butterscotch, the nose stays clear
- Finish: butter, cream, ends on herbs & flowers
- Comments: this one is wonderful, so different than the Scallyway NAS
Douglas Laing & Co. Rock Oyster
- Nose: briny, little bit smoky, vanilla, beachy
- Taste: spicy, seaweed, medium body, bonfire smoke in the distance, lemon
- Finish: lemon and bone marrow gelatin quality
- Comments: peat element, a savory gelatin with brine
Douglas Laing & Co. Rock Oyster 18yr
- Nose: stronger brine & smoke, white grape, white chocolate
- Taste: striking match, mint, sharp, chewy
- Finish: long finish to brine and mint
- Comments: the nose belies the taste, calls to attention
Douglas Laing & Co. Big Peat
- Nose: all briny smoke, beach campfire,
- Taste: strongly ash, eucalyptus, sooty, lime, medium body, oily, coats the mouth
- Finish: ash lasts & lasts
- Comments: all peat, all the time…tastes so good!
And the bonus…
Gordon & Macphail Craigellachie 19yr Cask Strength
- Nose: raisins, heather, grass, barley
- Taste: hits hard, clover honey, cut grass, oily, chocolate
- Finish: fades to grass, lingers long and green
- Comments: water mellows the hit and lets the greenness come forward, softly chocolate
Another food pairing opportunity
Another added bonus: I provided dessert for the group…Chocolate Cake Balls (remember those from Pop to it?). They paired deliciously with that Craigellachie…the dark chocolate enhanced the yummy chocolate notes of the dram. I’ve written previously about my pairing adventures, and I featured the topic in Springbank with Snacks. Check it out!
I really enjoyed exploring Scotland through its scotch regions in one sitting. Kudos to Douglas Laing & Co. for their Remarkable Regional Malts collection, and many thanks to North Shore Whisky Club for presenting this lineup to us. Tasting around Scotland…what a great way to travel!
Slainté! L’chaim! Cheers!