The Diageo Special Releases launch is always the best event in the calendar. It presents a fabulous opportunity to try some unique, and frankly, very special whiskies from the Diageo stocks. The class of 2015 is superb. It contains all of the usual suspects and mixes in some of the lesser know distilleries in the portfolio. Read on and enjoy some of the finest whiskies of 2015.…
Day three of the Feis is always a highlight. Caol Ila is the destination of choice and this year they put on a fabulous show – and even managed to steal the sun from Bruichladdich. We arrived at the sea front mid-morning and reacquainted ourselves with old friends; David, the manager and some of the tour guides at the distillery. We also bumped into the legendary Colin Dunn who was on fine form and looked after us well throughout the day.…
Our friends at Douglas Laing know us well – not only did they send us a fabulous little collection of whisky from their Provenance range.. they sent us an exclusively Islay parcel of whiskies from their Provenance range! After being at the Feis Ile this year we’ve grown accustomed to drinking the lovely peaty stuff in the summer sun and so the recent arrival of the British summer provided an opportunity to dig out the shorts, the festival glasses and imagine the view from our humble Birmingham abodes was really the expanse of Loch Indaal!
Douglas Laing had kindly sent us a sample of the recent launched Big Peat Small Batch (which is reviewed elsewhere on this site) and three single malts; one each from Caol Ila, Bowmore, and Laphroaig. Alongside a photo of each location from our recent trip, here are our thoughts on some really interesting Islay spirits.
Douglas Laing Provenance Caol Ila (Young & Feisty) [46%]
A lovely Caol Ila that is perfect for this time of year! Reminded us of a summers day on the Isle of Islay.
Nose: Lots of woodsmoke and damp grass. Liquorice and aniseed comes through intensely before we experienced some more maritime notes
Palate: Light and summery with enough smoke and peat to remind you of Caol Ila. Heavy on the lavender before the delights of a salty seafood barbecue hit the senses
Finish: Long and salty as the smoke fades away
Douglas Laing Provenance Bowmore 10 [46%]
Sadly I found this whisky a bit too floral and fragrant for my taste, preferring the power of the earlier Caol Ila. If you are looking for peat and smoke then I’d consider the Caol Ila or Laphroaig. If you enjoy the more perfume-y Islay’s then this may well be up your street!
Nose: Quite savoury and floral (reminded me of slightly overcooked rosemary). Lots of damp warehouse notes wrapped in a smoked chocolate bar.
Palate: Again very floral – think summer meadows in full bloom. Sweet and sugary with a definite menthol edge
Finish: Long and sweet
Douglas Laing Provenance Laphroaig 10 [46%]
Laphroaig was the whisky that started it all for me [Jon] and this is another beautiful Laphroaig that shows off the quality of the distillery. No messing around just a fabulous 10 year old whisky that is well worth checking out.
Nose: Soft and malty with a lovely creamy and vanilla scent. Over time is became more sterile and medicinal and smelt like peaty cough sweets (now there’s an idea!)
Palate: Sweet peat. This whisky tastes very raw and natural and benefits hugely from this. Lovely amount of spice and smoke.
Finish: Peppery, drying, long
All in all we had a fantastic night sampling these whiskies. The favourite of the evening was the Laphroaig – it was intensely raw, almost like you could taste the constituent parts and it was very different to the distillery 10 year old so is well worth investigating for that something a little bit different!
Thanks are due to Douglas Laing – we really can’t wait to see what you release next. Please do keep up the fabulous work!
What a day we had! It is safe to say that the Midlands Whisky Festival rocks – it has a great location in the historic Stourbridge Town Hall, is organised by the historic Nickolls and Perks, and brought in malt fans and whisky from all over the world. It also provided us with an oppportunity to once again meet the fabulous Colin Dunn and try some spectacular Diageo Special Releases including the legendary Port Ellen! …
We were greeted by even more sun on Monday – the third day in a row – so we donned our shorts and best summer wear and headed down to Port Askaig to visit Caol Ila. Recently reopened to the public after a 6 month closure, Caol Ila is a juxtaposition of a stunning setting looking over the paps of Jura with a rather disappointing looking 1970’s building. Still we’d come here to sample the whisky, not to marvel at its architecture and that’s what we did.
W is definitely for W Club – The Whisky Shop’s new membership club that gives you access to limited release bottlings, great competitions and some exclusive in-store whisky! We popped along to see Craig, manager of Birmingham’s Whisky Shop to try some of the new bottles he had. The focus of our mission this time was a new bottle out by Glen Garioch which was bottled excessively for the Whisky Shop! There are only 187 bottles of the Glen Garioch 1978 and as it retails at a shade under £400 this was probably going to be our only experience of it. Our thoughts are here: