Douglas Laing Highland Park Tasting Notes

Posted: September 6, 2011 in Highland Park, Scotch Whisky A-G

Douglas Laing Xtra Old Particular Highland Park 1997 (18 year old) 54%

Refill Hogshead/ Code: XOP0066/ DL11364

Dist: Sept 1997 Btl: Aug 2016/ Tasted: Sept 2016

Subtle coastal aromas with hints of edgy, herbal barley, warm vanilla, earth and coffee’d spice. It takes awhile to open but with time a touch of smoke and fish oils emerge.

The palate is crisp and barley’d with white fruit, earthy citrus and spice, along with hints of fish oils and vanilla. Full bodied if a little straightforward, which is surprising for Xtra Old particular bottlings. However the finish is pleasantly spicy with a crisp citric and salty finish. For a bottling retailing for £156 I would have expected more complexity.

 


Douglas Laing Old Particular Highland Park 1996 (17 year old) 48.4%

Bourbon/ Code: OLD0081/ Dist: Sept 1996 Btl: Apr 2014/ Tasted: May 2014

A beautiful, moist, luscious and honeyed nose displaying a lovely depth of sub-tropical fruit, barley sugar and light dusty and earthy spice. With time hints of parma violets and smoke emerge.

The palate is robust and honeyed with a little edgy, earthy peat. Like the nose it has lovely depth of sub-tropical fruit and oak with the honey becoming a little sweeter although some lively citrus notes balance. Quite herbal on the middle with a long, violety, sweet spice and sweet, dusty peat finish. A superb cask!

Douglas Laing Old Particular Highland Park 1995(?) (18 year old) 48.4%

Bourbon/ Code: OLP0074/ Dist: 1995(?) Btl: Feb 2014/ Tasted: Mar 2014

Fresh, crisp and salt saturated aromas of apricot, green apple and kiwi, followed by huge dollops of uber sweet honey, malt and barley. With time hints of peat, mocha, dark treacle and thyme appear along with a light honeysuckle note. A lovely nose.

The palate is full and lightly milky to begin with, before the citrus infused honey, barley and gently perfumed apricot arrives. The salt and earthy peat notes build beautifully into a dark treacle middle. Long, elegant and so juicy – liquid citrus! The sugars come though to balance the citrus and the pure honeycomb notes linger accented by a touch of dusty/ earthy peat and herb.

Douglas Laing Old Particular Highland Park 1996 (18 year old) 48.4%

Code: OLD0167/ Dist: Sept 1996 Btl: Feb 2015/ Tasted: Mar 2015

Lightly perfumed aromas of white fruit, barley sugar, rock candy and lovely luscious honey. Hints of brine, light peat and balsamic malt appear. Very impressive.

The palate is soft with hints of heather, barley and vanilla. Fresh and briny but pleasantly full with a hint of peat smoke and soft spices. Long and very salty with lingering spice and tobacco notes.

 


Douglas Laing Old Malt Cask Highland Park 1996 (13 year old) 50%

Bourbon Cask DL5732/ Dist: Sept 1996 Btl: Jan 2010/ Tasted: Nov 2010

Faintly phenolic and briny with some fishy and rubbery notes. A very pleasant nose which develops a touch of wood, honey, lavender and bung cloth. The palate is pretty fruity, almost tropical in character – banana, papaya and apricot, followed by the salinity, fish, honey, heather and spicy notes. Soft, yet not lacking in intensity and a long heather-honey finish.

With water the nose becomes very gristy with a bucketful of malty sweetness. It’s very fruity for aHighland park. The palate now revels in its icing sugar coated tropicalness. Less phenolic now and the oak does bitter out the finish a touch but it leaves a lovely mocha after taste. A superb bourbon casked Highlandpark and a definite exception to the rule!

Douglas Laing Old Malt Cask Highland Park 1996 (14 year old) 50%

Sherry/ Code: OMC2053/ Dist: Sept 1996 Btl: Oct 2011/ Tasted: Oct 2011

Gently sherried and quite nutty on the nose with hints of ozone and brine. Quite full and fruity with hints of tropical melon/ guava. Lovely complexity and balance for a sherried HP with a late heathery note and a soupcon of peat.

Quite sweet to begin with – sugar coated barley and light, bananary tropical fruit. The sherry adds a delicate nutty note to the proceedings and a touch of lightly medicinal peat, coffee and spice appears. Good length with a bracing finish.

Douglas Laing Old Malt Cask Highland Park 1996 (15 year old) 50%

Sherry/ Code: OMC2116/ Dist: Sept 1996 Btl: Dec 2011/ Tasted: Dec 2011

The nose is rather muted and oily and faintly sherried. One would assume that this was a very re-filled cask. There are hints of bracken and heather but the oils, which turn fishier with time really dampens the aromas.

The palate is soft and no surprise – oily! Liberally endowed with natural caramel, which unfortunately is of the burnt persuasion and does become rather invasive. The spirit seems a lot younger, a bit malty, a bit coastal, a bit honeyed and a bit sherried. I’m afraid that I’m distinctly unimpressed.

Douglas Laing Old Malt Cask Highland Park 1996 (15 year old) 50%

Bourbon/ Code: OMC2174/ Dist: Sept 1996 Btl: July 2012/ Tasted: July 2012

A deep and very sweet nose with some floral honey notes and gentle spice. With time it becomes very herbaceous with hints of leafy camphor.

The palate opens with some sweet barley and honey, followed by hints of peat and smoke. Still quite sweet and honeyed with a touch of tropical fruit. A big blast of citrus greets the mid palate. Good length with a light earthy-peat and charcoal finish.

Douglas Laing Old Malt Cask Highland Park 1996 (15 year old) 50%

Bourbon/ Code: ? / Tasted: July 2012

An intriguing nose of succulent apricot and light, earthy peat. Showing some maturity with some lovely sugar coated barley. That light peat note languidly rifts in and out and with time a touch of citrus and woody spice notes appear.

The palate is very juicy and sugar coated. Like the nose some gentle, earthy peaty rifts in along with salt, spice and wood tannins. Again showing some maturity and a lovely depth. Long and spicy with a mouth-watering coastal finish. Conclusion: A lovely mature malt, showing a lovely balance of flavours. Very harmonious.

Douglas Laing Old Malt Cask Highland Park 1996 (16 year old) 50%

Refill Sherry(?)/ Code: OMC2167/ Dist: Sept 1996 Btl: Nov 2012/ Tasted: Nov 2012

A dark and malty nose showing dried coriander leaf, smoked treacle and a reasonable degree of fragrant herbal-peat. Very malty for a Highland Park! There’s serious slabs of the stuff! Quite edgy and pungent with some late notes of polished wood.

The palate is equally dark and treacly with herbal-peat and leafy dried herbs. Quite salty on the middle and seriously long, you can feel that salt encrusting the tongue! It’s definitely a butch and manly Highland Park with a late marmite intimation.

Douglas Laing Old Malt Cask Highland Park 1984 (23 year old) 50%

Refill Sherry Butt 3805/ Dist: 1984 Btl: 2007

A huge nose of mature honey and tropical fruit with the sherry cask sitting in the background. Gentle, even sensuous mango, guava and papuya mingle with the wood spices. Practically an unpeated nose and although showing the distillery tropical character it could be easily mistaken for a Spey.

Slightly oily, opening the a bucket load of honey and tropical fruit followed by sawdusty-barley and wood tannins towards the middle. The sherry influence is delicate and supporting. Lip smackingly good with an impression of gentle smoke in the finish. A very impressive dram.

A drop of water really opens up the nose a treat, showcasing the glorious depth of tropical fruit, drawing out a lovely citrus thread and a winey Sauvignon grassiness. On the palate it stirs the honey into life and it pretty much coats the mouth. Gently sweet now and still very long.

 


Douglas Laing Premier Barrel Highland Park 1998 (13 year old) 46%

Bourbon/ Code: PBR0096/ Dist: Oct 1998 Btl: June 2011

Quite a fishy nose with some background peat. Like a lot of bourbon casked Highland Park’s it’s a tad nondescript and develops a slightly floral shaving foam note. The palate is reasonably sweet and slightly gristy with some honeyed and fishy moments. Like the nose it’s rather bland and slightly watery with a slightly briny and spicy finish.

 


Douglas Laing Directors Cut Highland Park 1992? (21 Years Old) 53.6%

Tasted: Oct 2013

Nose: Quite mature with earthy liquorice, malt, straw, yeast and a touch of wet cardboard. Fishy and oily with a subtle peatiness and oak character but the herbal spirit note attempts to come through. Late notes of roasted coffee cover the light cardboard notes! Water mutes the nose leaving only the fish oils and maybe a little barley.

Palate: Lightly oiled and fishy with industrial, cardboard-peat, dunnage and rather intrusive alcohol. Water mutes the palate just like the nose.

Finished: Slightly murky, lightly spiced but rather hot. Water brings out some pepper notes and drying tannins.

Conclusion: It’s old Ledaig, what else do you expect! (tasted blind, hence the confusion!)

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