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A photo of FDL and FHL next to a Whisky glass

Our History

Established in 1948 by founder, Fred Douglas Laing, Douglas Laing & Co. remains one of just a few Whisky firms in Scotland that remains independently owned. Over 70 years on from humble beginnings, our company is now in its third generation and remains as committed to our original goal: to create only the most exceptional Whisky.

The Story So Far

Take a Trip Back in Time

  • 1945

    • Fred Douglas Laing

      Humble Beginnings

      After serving with the Royal Air Force throughout World War Two, Fred Douglas Laing works with an American friend largely to develop the King of Scots brand to sell throughout Europe and the USA.

  • 1948

    • A Deal of Drams

      During this period, FDL takes sole ownership of the business. Fred Douglas Laing works to set up preferred filling programs with Distilleries throughout Scotland. Many of these deals remain in place today, some based on a handshake over 70 years on.

  • 1950

    • Wee Freddy

      In September, we welcome Fred Hamilton Laing to the world! By December, “Uncle” Sandy Grant, friend and co-owner of a number of racehorses with FDL, offers to exchange “Wee Freddy” for the Bruichladdich Distillery!

  • 1966

    • A picture of FHL and FDL in Ecuador.

      University of Life

      Fred Jr. is taken out of school over two years to receive an “alternative” education and accompany his father on business trips to Central and South America, learning commerce and Spanish simultaneously.

  • 1968

    • A close up image of a Whisky Cask

      The Apprentice

      Fred Jr. joins Whyte and MacKay Distillers on a classic, quaintly old-fashioned apprenticeship. Working across all departments, Fred uncovers the secrets of blending and bottling under the mentorship of Major Hartley Whyte.

  • 1969

    • From Whyte to White

      Fred Jr. feels the call of White Horse Distillers and within further apprenticeship develops his blending skills further under the watchful eye of Gardiner Ferrier.

  • 1972

    • Family Values

      Fred finally joins his father, Fred Douglas Laing, and begins work at Douglas Laing & Co, setting in motion the wheels that would eventually see Fred Jr. spearhead the family business.

  • 1975

    • The Big Yin

      Douglas Laing & Co. bottles the first of Billy Connolly’s Nippy Sweeties – a tribute to a Glasgow icon, known locally as The Big Yin.

  • 1976

    • Sympathy for the Drammer

      The Rolling Stones are introduced to Fred backstage at The Apollo in Glasgow, on their Black and Blue Tour. Bottles of King of Scots are left with the band and are well received, leading to great satisfaction all round.

  • 1977

    • King of Scots and an image of some members of the Laing family.

      A Duty to Dram

      The King of Scots becomes the Scotch brand of choice for Duty Free Shoppers, with sales and profile increasing significantly both in the domestic and Travel Retail markets around the Pacific Basin. Growth would continue exponentially for the next decade.

  • 1982

    • Wee Cara

      1982 welcomes the arrival of Cara Laing, daughter to Fred Jr. Just like Fred, Cara would grow up to be surrounded by Whisky, paving the foundations of a life long passion.

  • 1990

    • Fit for Royalty

      Fred Laing meets Her Majesty The Queen to accept The Queen’s Award for Export, a particular honour with the award celebrating its 25th anniversary.

  • 1999

    • Barrels of whisky.

      Sensational Single Casks

      Douglas Laing introduces its first ever Single Cask Single Malt bottlings under the Old Malt Cask brand (later to be succeeded by the Old Particular range.)

  • 2002

    • The Family Jewels

      Douglas Laing & Co. launches the Old and Rare range, shortly followed by the sister brand, Director’s Cut – both brands are succeeded by our most prestigious Single Cask brand, Xtra Old Particular.

  • 2009

    • Big Peat

      Smell Smoke?

      2009 marks the arrival of Big Peat – a marriage of Islay’s finest Single Malts. Big Peat quickly amasses a cult following of “pals” and scoops up an enviable collection of Whisky awards.

  • 2013

    • Scallywag on a bed of fruit

      A Particularly Busy Year

      This year welcomes Fred’s daughter, Cara Laing, and her husband, Chris Leggat into the business as Director of Whisky and Commercial Director respectively. Adding to the Exceptional Single Cask family, Old Particular is launched globally with resounding success. This year also sees the commemoration of the Laing family Fox Terrier with the launch of Scallywag.

  • 2014

    • A Wee, Sleekit Beastie

      2014 paves the way for the arrival of the heavenly honeyed Highlander, Timorous Beastie. In the same year, the “big brother” to the Old Particular range, XOP, launches as a leading luxury Single Cask brand - much to the delight of many Whisky connoisseurs around the world.

  • 2015

    • All Aboard!

      This year makes way for the arrival of the monstrously maritime Malt, Rock Island. This new arrival in turn officially forms the family of Remarkable Regional Malts. The Exceptional Single Cask collection expands too, with the rebrand of the young and feisty Provenance range.

  • 2016

    • A Cheeky Chappy

      The Remarkable Regional Malts family welcomes another addition with The Epicurean. Championing the story of a 1930’s “city man born and bred”, the Lowlander charms Whisky and cocktail enthusiasts alike.

  • 2017

    • Masters of our Own Destiny

      A landmark year, Douglas Laing and Co. unveils the plans to build a new Whisky Distillery on the banks of the River Clyde. The final Remarkable Regional Malts family member is also unveiled – The Gauldrons from Campbeltown.

  • 2018

    • A Landmark Birthday

      2018 marks the 70th anniversary of Douglas Laing & Co. To celebrate seven decades of Whisky making, the company releases a number of commemorative bottlings including XOP Platinum.

Delve Deeper

Into Our Whisky

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