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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 former 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, the company has 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.
Thoughts: This a blend comprising some really characterful malts and it’s been put together beautifully. Fair play to the blender, because it’s bang on brief. It may even be the most coastal flavour profile I’ve come across. As the price of single malts seemingly spirals out of control, blended malts like Rock Oyster offer fantastic value for money. After all, this is a blend of maybe five or six island malts, all of which are great on their own. They’ve been married together and bottled, un-chill-filtered at a strength of 46% abv before being sold for £35 a bottle. Cracking dram. Cracking value.
*If the whisky reviewed in this article has caught your eye, you can buy it from Master of Malt here. Please be aware that as an affiliate I can be paid a small commission on any purchases you make after following links from my page. The whisky is also available from several other excellent retailers.