Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Old Particular Tweet Tasting

Glasgow-based Douglas Laing & Co are independent Scotch Whisky bottlers and blenders. Founded in 1948 by Fred Douglas Laing, which in turn was passed down to his sons Stewart and Fred until May 2013 when the two brothers decided to split the family-owned company in two, after reaching an amicable agreement that secures the business for the next generation. The pair are now at the helm of two separate businesses that feature key roles for their respective children. 

Douglas Laing & Co has continued with with Fred Laing at the helm, and he has been joined by his daughter Cara as head of brands marketing.

Cara has brought considerable industry experience to the role, having moved from Morrison Bowmore Distillers, where she led the Bowmore and Glen Garioch brands as marketing manager. She is also a former global brand manager for the Isle of Jura single malt and has worked previously with both Dalmore and Whyte & Mackay.

This tweet tasting coincided with the launch of Douglas Laing & Co Ltd's new flag ship range 'Old Particular', a series of selected single cask bottlings and five blind samples arrived in good time at Whisky Discovery HQ for the tweet tasting with Steve Rush of @TheWhiskyWire and Cara Laing from @DLaingWhisky
Whisky Discovery
All set to go at Whisky Discovery HQ
The bottles were simply numbered one to five, no other information was given and all five were tasted blind and only revealed at the end of each tasting. Whilst we all tried guessing the distillery I don't think their were many 'Gold Stars' awarded for our whisky tasting prowess, although I did get the last one right on first nosing. Right from the start a new Whisky Discovery was recorded in the Liquid Log.

Whisky Discovery #524

Old Particular Auchentoshan 15 Year Old (48.4% abv)
Lowland Single Malt Whisky
Price TBC
Old Particular
Auchentoshan was one of only three remaining Lowland malt whisky distilleries, however recent openings and re-openings have increased that count to six now (Auchentoshan, Glenkinchie, Bladnoch, Daftmill, Annandale and Ailsa Bay) Founded in 1800 and located just on the outskirts of Glasgow, Auchentoshan is probably the most accessible Lowland distillery, being just a short taxi ride away from the city centre. Interestingly, Auchentoshan triple distills it's spirit which is said to give a lighter, more delicate and sweeter flavoured malt whisky.

This 15 Year Old 'Old Particular' Auchentoshan was distilled in October 1997, matured in a refill hogshead, and yielded 336 Bottles when bottled in August 2003

So What Did I Think?
The nose comes across as grassy initially with sweet floral notes before the vanilla starts to take over. Malty fruit follows, with apples, pears and the small of fresh Victoria plums (which came to mind as I had just been picking them from the garden) There's a leafy herbal element too, which I noted as Elderberry leaves while underneath the fruit there's a slate like note

The palate comes across much sweeter and more delicate than the nose was suggesting. A little less interesting too. Opening light and sweet you are met with a citrus zest and pepper 'zing' with a sherbet feel with a trace of cinnamon spice. The mouth feel turns creamy towards then end and finishes dry with a touch of salt. 

Verdict: I had an inkling that this one was Auchentoshan but didn't 'tweet up' at the time. This has an interesting nose but not meeting my expectations on the palate, perhaps too light and delicate for me? I've not tried many Auchentoshans in my journey to date although do like their Three Wood.

So what did the others think?
@cowfish: First dram has a nose with grass and leafiness, as well as spice and sweetness. Seems to be changing a lot
@LaCaveDeCobalt: First nose is a bit estery with green apple and pear notes. Also, something sweet like cotton candy.

@jalcock1982: Nose: vanilla, apple, grassy, very sweet, toffee, pear drop, boiled sweets. mouth watering
@MasterOfMaltJM: Nose: Apple, vanilla, touch of honeycomb and maltiness. Dried papaya. Wet rock/shell.
@steveprentice: On the palate this is much smoother than I expected, creamy, rich, malty, slight coastal notes and apples.
@andrew1bardsley: Warm in the mouth, with a mellow spice to it. Less fruit than I was expecting. Classic American oak flavours
@sjoerd972: Taste: not too sharp, some vanilla, grass, lemon oil, granny smith, simple syrup, white tea.

Whisky Discovery #525

Old Particular Caperdonich 18 Year Old (48.4% abv)
Speyside Single Malt Whisky
circa £76.00 70cl
Old Particular
The Caperdonich Distillery is one of our 'lost' distilleries. Although founded in 1898 it had a very short life before being resurrected in 1965 and ran until 2002 and later demolished in 2010. I've only ever tasted one Caperdonich before

This 18 Year Old 'Old Particular' Caperdonich was distilled in June 1995, matured in a refill hogshead, yielding 312 bottles when bottled in August 2013 

So What Did I Think?
A gentle delicate nose that needed teasing out. Spicy initially with a little menthol too. There's a hazelnut nuttiness before some softer fruit notes develop with waxy apples, but dry with soda water and a chalky note. The nose was much more restrained than the first dram of the evening and to be honest, was not doing a great deal for me so wanted to move on quickly to taste it

As a complete contrast to the Auchentoshan, the palate was much more interesting than the nose. Sweet, rich and malty with sultanas, vanilla cream and a dab of sherbet. There's a grapefruit pith note towards the end along with some gentle aniseed spice

Verdict: I didn't have a clue before the reveal, although I was beginning to think Speyside. While the nose was perhaps a little to delicate for me to appreciate fully in the time we had during the twitter tasting, the palate more than made up for it and I really enjoyed this super smooth 'Speysider'.

So what did the others think?

@MaltReview: Nose: More muted than the first. Much more a kind of heady wood and cream cheese aroma. Understated, yet subtle.
@MCRWhiskyClub: Nose Light, vanilla, lemon curd and then a rather sour note, coming back round to baked apples glazed with honey.
@PWulf: Very faint smell of an old leather boot? Swampy cellar
@MasterOfMaltJM: Palate: It's those slices of apple that are drying out (very specific!) that I had on the nose for me, only more so now!
@TheWhiskyWire: Is there such a thing as peach sherbet? If not I've just discovered it.
@LaCaveDeCobalt: Oily and creamy on the palate with salty/sugary notes. Very warming. Much more my kind of dram.
@rodbodtoo: The palate is malty and rounded. A wee bitty hot in the finish. Also getting fruity.

Whisky Discovery #526

Old Particular Glen Ord 16 Year Old (48.4% abv)
Highland Single Malt Whisky
Price TBC
Old Particular
I've not come across anything from the Glen Ord Distillery in my journey to date. Yes, I've heard of the distillery, but the only expression that I could think of was the 'Singleton of Glen Ord. I had to Google the distillery initially to find out where it is located (the Black Isle, Ross-shire) although later returned to my trusty copy of The Malt Whisky Yearbook for more details.

The Glen Ord Distillery is owned by Diageo and the majority of the Whisky made is used in the Singleton of Glen Ord range which is an exclusive to South East Asia although the 12 Year Old can be found in their visitor centre.

This 16 Year Old 'Old Particular' Glen Ord was distilled in April 1997, matured in a refill hogshead, yielding 396 bottles when bottled in August 2013

So What Did I Think?
Opening with malty berry fruits, there's a certain oiliness to the nose of this one. Not a heavy oily note, more of a light olive oil note. An earthy chars lies under with a touch of brine too.

The palate is rich, creamy, and very tasty with blackberries, a leafy herbal note that reminded me of brambles, white pepper and lemon zest, finishing with a little charcoal char and a maritime edge.

Verdict: I was impressed with the Glen Ord, and this quickly became my favourite of the evening so far. My stab at guess for the distillery was way off! this rime, and for the record I tweeted Glen Scotia, well I got half the name correct!

So what did the others think?
@MaltReview: Wow, radically different. Lighter, fresher, but still intense. Massive Jarlsberg cheese note there. Lively as hell.
@kristy_kristy: Nose: dark chocolate, creamy, quite savoury... Now cheese has been mentioned I can smell it.
@andrew1bardsley: Young...green bananas. Little less sweet but still a lovely nose.
@jalcock1982: Nose: strong cheese, meaty, difficult to get past at first, shortbread, creamy, vanilla, I like it.
@WorldWhiskyDay: I'm really enjoying this. Beaches, waves, honey, chimney smoke, sea spray! Superb!
@RLemkin: Initial mouthfull had me wondering what it'd be like to try to eat a forest floor.
@sjoerd972: Finish: oak, all of a sudden. Green fruit, bitter at that. gin-like, and engine grease.

Whisky Discovery #527

Old Particular Glen Scotia 21 Year Old (51.5% abv)
Campbeltown Single Malt Whisky
circa £85.00 70cl
Old Particular
Glen Scotia, another distillery I have had little experience of with only one Whisky Discovery recorded on the Liquid Log. Glen Scotia from Campbeltown, the Victorian Whisky capital of the world, is one of the three remaining distilleries from this region.

This 21 Year Old 'Old Particular' Glen Scotia 21 was distilled in May 1992 and matured in a refill barrel, yielding just 240 bottles when bottled in August 2013

So What Did I Think?
With the smells of sweet polished wood and barley husks initially on the nose this turns more earthy with a used Swan Vestas matchbox note to it too (like smelling the strike pad of the box). Fruit appears with dark sweet cherries.

The palate is sweet and earthy, oily peat smoke turning the sweet cherry a little sour, wit h a touch of brine too.

Verdict: I really loved this one and it became my new favourite of the evening. I was beginning to this that this was an old Glen Garioch, but again only got half the name correct. This is a superb Glen Scotia would love to have a bottle of this on the shelf.

So what did the others think?
@steveprentice: Gosh, this one's a slippery changing little one, had an Auchy Valinch nose at first, all gone now and creamy / fruity

@MCRWhiskyClub: Some sort of peppery steak sauce, this is an altogether different beast, very deep, meaty.
@rickfurzer: Nose opening into brazil nut toffee.
@TheWhiskyWire: A whole wealth of sweet & savoury evolving wonders. This dram just will not stand still on the nose.
@cowfish: Touch of the forest floor rancio to this one - damp earth, bark and leaves.
@rickfurzer: Palate: a lot of cocoa on the palate here and back on the Nose.
@MasterOfMaltJM: Palate: Viscous and seriously lip smacking with cigars.

Whisky Discovery #528

Old Particular Bowmore 25 Year Old (50.2% abv)
Islay Single Malt Whisky
Price TBC

Old Particular
From Islay's oldest distillery this 25 Year Old 'Old Particular' Bowmore was distilled in December 1987, matured in a refill hogshead, yielding 234 bottles when bottled in August 2013

So What Did I Think?
The instant I nosed this I was convinced I had an old Bowmore. The nose opens with sweet driftwood beach bonfire smoke and the smell of parma violets

The palate opens with a huge hit of sweet parma violets, much more floral than I was expecting. Once you get over the sweet perfumed notes the driftwood smoke returns, finishing with the gentlest of peat reek and the dying embers of that beach fire with burnt sand and sea salt.

Verdict: Whilst the sweet scented nose initially drew me in there was just a touch too much parma violets on the palate for me. I really thought that this was going to be my favourite of the evening it probably slipped back into second or third with the Glen Scotia in front and Glen Ord just pipping this Bowmore.

So what did the others think?
@steveprentice: Peat! Whoop. I suspect this is old, really old, and probably expensive. And not from Islay?! Humm, must ponder that.

@kristy_kristy: Nose: lightly peated strawberries and cream.
@sjoerd972: Oak leaf lettuce, lavender, some peat, cream and barley, chalk, parma violets. I like.
@jalcock1982: Nose: rum, raisin, smoke, coastal, salt, oily, sherry, faint sulphur, tempting me in.
@PWulf: There is floral fight in my nose: In the right corner heather and and in the left the champ violet.
@cowfish: It's hard to get past the big floral hit on the nose. If you're sensitive to it then it's a bit overpowering. And I am...
@rodbodtoo: Palate is sweet and salty, with quite an oily texture. Lovely
@MaltReview: It's almost a classically well-balanced peated whisky, but just turned up a notch. A charred wood influence here
@SimplzW: Wowzers, Packs a real punch! Salted caramel ice cream, with extra salt, lovely 

And finally.... 
As per previous Tweet Tastings there was a great deal of tweeting going on and to see what happened search on the #OldParticular hashtag on twitter for the full story. Being new single cask releases the were five Whisky Discoveries to record on the Liquid Log as well as a new distillery to log 

A massive THANK YOU to Steve Rush at @TheWhiskyWire and Cara Laing from @DLaingWhisky for sending out all of the samples to us and of course the tweet tasters who were: 

@The WhiskyWire @MasterOfMalt @WorldWhiskyDay @PMaitlando @robertcjackson @jalcock1982 @WhiskyDiscovery @SmokieChops @kristy_kristy @Grahamyus @kizzsmyth @MaltReview @MCRWhiskyClub @rodbodtoo @SimplzW @janmccurdy @andrew1bardsley @steveprentice @cowfish @rickfurzer @andotron @LaCaveDeCobalt @sjoerd972 @JayDieNL @PWulf @fr1day 

For more information see: www.thewhiskywire.com and www.douglaslaing.com

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