Our Fellow, Dr. Heinz Weinberger from Whisky-Connaisseur, has written this guest blog for us, giving us his impression of a Douglas Laing Master Class at last year’s InterWhisky Fair in Germany...
He stepped in at short notice for Chris Leggat, Commercial Director of Douglas Laing, who had to postpone his journey to Frankfurt by one day for important reasons of scheduling.
Timo, who was named Keeper of the Quaich in 2016, eloquently pulverized the last prejudices against Blended Malts - a Whisky category, formerly known as Vatted Malt. He was able to completely convince the numerous participants of the fully booked event that blended Malt Whiskies are of excellent quality and have nothing at all in common with the desert ideas of some single Malt purists - "with blended Malts only one or more bad barrels are mixed in and brought onto the market". With the Remarkable Regional Malts series from Douglas Laing he instantly turned words into deeds. Each bottle of these blended Malts embodies the characteristic features of the Scottish region from which the single Malt Whiskies originate. They are filled with a considerable alcohol strength of about 46% abv, are neither coloured nor chill-filtered. The “fruity and floral-herbal” The Epicurean stands for the Lowlands, the spicy and honey-sweet Timorous Beastie for the Highlands, the fruity and full-bodied Scallywag for Speyside, the maritime Rock Oyster for the Islands, whereas the lively, salty-sweet and peaty Big Peat is representing Islay. The latest addition to the Remarkable Regional Malts family is the recently released The Gauldrons (Gaelic for: Bay of Storms). This is a blended Malt exclusively from Campbeltown produced in very small batches: slightly oily, paired with a maritime note, clean fruitiness and sweet Malted barley.
Timo impressed with his background knowledge of the Whiskies as well as Douglas Laing's history. In the 60 minutes available, he gave a deep insight into the diverse world of liquid gold of this family-run independent bottler from Glasgow, who announced in summer 2017 that they soon would become distillers.
My convincing summary after a total of five high-quality, full-bodied and multi-faceted Whiskies: If a single Malt is a solo singer, then a blended Malt is an entire chorus. By marrying several single Malts from different distilleries, the flavour profile can be raised to a higher level, imparting richness, depth and complexity. Just try the sweet and fruity, pleasantly spicy and perfectly balanced Scallywag aged 13 Years, the fruity and warm spicy Timorous Beastie 18 Years Old, the maritime Rock Oyster Sherry Edition - nicely balanced with dark fruits, sherry and warming spices, the strong, peppery smoky and sweet-creamy Rock Oyster 18 Years Old or the powerful, full-bodied and ultimate Big Peat Christmas Edition 2017 in cask strength - then you’ll know what I mean!
The InterWhisky in Frankfurt is the event for Whisk(e)y beginners and professionals. Germany's oldest Whisky fair is a combination of a specialist exhibition and a Whisky cultural supporting programme. The most notable names in the international Whisk(e)y industry and an increasing number of smaller, independent distilleries from Germany and abroad come to Frankfurt for the annual family reunion.
The Bremer Spirituosen Contor GmbH is a European spirit wholesaler with hanseatic, authentic values from Bremen in Northern Germany. BSC is a general importer of international premium spirits in Germany, including Douglas Laing bottlings.
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