For the casual whisky drinker, blended malts must be something of an unknown quantity. It’s understandable, since most of the whisky on the market today is either a blended scotch or a single malt, the first of which is made by combining both malt and grain whiskies of various origins, while the latter is made from 100% malted barley and produced at a single site. A blended malt however, combines various malt whiskies from different distilleries to create something entirely new, yet still made from 100% malt. It is a category growing in popularity and at the very forefront of this upswell, is Glasgow based independent bottler, Douglas Laing.
Named after founder Fred Douglas Laing, the company dates from 1948. Three generations down the line, it remains under family ownership and enjoys a reputation as a trader in the finest of drams. Throughout the last few years, Laing have diversified into blending with the launch of a series known as the ‘Remarkable Regional Malts’. The range consists of Big Peat, made up of Islay malts, Timorous Beastie, made from the spirit of the Highlands, Scallywag, blended from Speyside and now, the latest addition, created from island malts, Rock Oyster.
Smell: Briney and very much ‘of the sea’ with Salty Air & Seaweed, Grass and Hay, a touch of Lemon and waft of Bonfire Smoke in the background
Taste: Sea Salt & Pepper, Honey, Caramel and Smoke.
Value for money: Generally available at £35 – £40 a bottle, which is fantastic for something of this quality – a delicious 46%, natural colour, non chill filtered blended malt.
Total: 87 / 100
As single malts become more fashionable and in some cases overpriced, blended malts like this offer a real alternative to those who want to try something new without breaking the bank. You’re not likely to find it in your local supermarket but it offers proof that a good bargain can still be found in your local specialist.
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