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Douglas Laing’s ‘Remarkable Regional Malts’ are a series of blended malt whiskies, each representing one of Scotland’s whisky regions. Released in late 2017, the Gauldrons completes the series with a blend of Campbeltown malts. The name comes from an area of coastline at Machrihanish on the Kintyre coast and the beautiful bottle is adorned with the image of a spider in reference to one of Scotland’s most famous legends…
The story goes that Robert the Bruce, who declared himself king of the Scots in 1306, fled defeat by the English at the battle of Methven and found himself living as an outlaw in his own country. He sought refuge on Rathlin Island off the north coast of Ireland and it was here that he would have his encounter with the spider. Some say it took place in a cave, some in a ramshackle hut on a wind-battered night that Bruce watched by firelight as a Spider attempted again and again to build its web, picking itself up after each failure and trying again. The Bruce was inspired and returned to Scotland, coming to land at the Gauldrons on the west coast of Kintyre. Rallying the country behind him, the outlaw King would eventually defeat the English at Bannockburn in 1314, winning his countries freedom and restoring peace to the land.
The story of Bruce and the Spider is almost certainly just that – a story. It first appeared in the writings of Sir Walter Scott, a man for whom gritty realism never appeared a high priority and indeed similar stories have been told about other historical figures, including Bruce’s colleague James (the Black) Douglas. Still, just as Bruce was inspired by his spider, so too does Scotland’s folklore enthuse the whisky drinker, conjuring images of fireside story-swapping over a few shared drams. So while the link between Campbeltown and Bruce’s spider may be rather tenuous, we shall let it slide due to its effectiveness at building an atmosphere in which to enjoy this rather pleasant malt whisky…
Smell: Pastry & Bread with Vanilla, crisp Lemon, Honeycomb and a touch of Smoke and Salt.
Taste: Butter Shortbread, Pastry, touch of Mint, Sea Salt and Pepper – light at first but growing all the time. Smoke and Oak finish.
Value for Money: £50 a bottle and you can expect the usual high standard from Douglas Laing.
I was excited about this as soon as it was announced and I wasn’t disappointed when I finally got my hands on a bottle. A great combination of buttery malt and seaside smoke. The Gauldrons closes out the Regional Malts series in style.
*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.