Fred Douglas Laing
Fred Douglas Laing always had a taste for Scotch Whisky; before, during, and after his RAF service. His dreams came true when he established Douglas Laing & Co in 1948, with little more than a few casks of blended Scotch Whisky, a recently purchased brand name – King of Scots – and an unyielding desire to succeed. Typical of many of those old characters in our Scotch industry, FDL (as he became known, and Frederick only when he was a badly behaved little boy!), was couthy, personable, and commercially astute.
To protect burgeoning sales he established filling contracts with many of Scotland’s most famous and prestigious distilleries, some still in place today based on those old gentlemen’s handshakes, so that the future of the company’s stock was assured. His blending skills were self-taught, and through his successes and (occasional) failures, the blender’s art was learnt. Those malts most favoured by him then – and us now – Blair Athol from the Highlands, Inchgower from Speyside, and in particular Port Ellen from Islay were amongst his favourite for vatting and blending… and they still stand the company in good stead today.
Times have changed but this moustachioed gent from another era would take pride in the spirit of enterprise, the demand for quality, and the honest approach to business that prevails in Douglas Laing & Co today. And just as he enjoyed a jovial sense of humour, he would relish the way his son and grand-daughter today approach Scotch Whisky with a wee bit of fun. Said to resemble the 30’s Hollywood actor William Powell, the Thin Man with his Fox Terrier dog to helping to solve the crimes, FDL also chose this breed for himself and the Scallywag brand is a nod to him, at which he would smile, particularly as these terriers continue to be part of the family Laing today – sentimental old dogs that we are.