Douglas Laing Cambus Tasting Notes

Posted: September 23, 2011 in Cambus, Scottish Grain Whisky

Douglas Laing ‘The Clan Denny’ Cambus 1963 (47 year old) 49.7%

Bourbon Cask HH7029/ Dist: Aug 1963 Btl: Apr 2011/ Tasted: Apr 2011

A sawdust and spice nose. Loaded with ultra-mature oak and reminds me of a wheated bourbon with that cotton candy/ candyfloss character. Plenty of dried fruit and barley sugar balances out the oak well. Lovely depth.

The palate is soft, opening with some brittle honey and the oak appears to be more sudbued than you would have expected given the nose. More rum like in character with plenty of dried fruit and spices galore! Soft and chewy with liquorice and more darkly-spiced caramel. Superb length with the spirit showing a touch of citrus and botanicals in the finish. A lovely old grain.

Douglas Laing ‘The Clan Denny’ Cambus 1975 (36 year old) 52.1%

Bourbon/ Code: DEN0069/ Dist: Jul 1975 Btl: Aug 2011/ Tasted: Aug 2011

A gorgeously sweet and demerara sugar coated nose. The rum like dried fruit aromas mingle with some edgy rye like notes and wonderfully soft and succulent honey. The oak vanillins are pretty robust and bring some violet and cream notes. A stunning  nose with a late hint of earth.

An expansive and gorgeous palate. Off sweet and spicy! The oak is less ‘in yer face’ and a lot more subtler, almost delicate in character, which gives full rein to the juicy honeyed grains and dark, fruit cake. Lovely length with hints of rum like dried fruits, tobacco, spice and a touch of smoke before the oak returns and slightly bitters out the finish. Yet another wonderful old grain!

Douglas Laing ‘The Clan Denny’ Cambus 1963 (48 year old) 49.5%

Code: DEN0081/ Dist: Aug 1963 Btl: Dec 2011/ Tasted: Dec 2011

An enormous, full on, ‘in yer face’ hit of sweet vanilla oak, dried raisins and wonderfully crisp grain. The spices conjured up are multidimensional and dramatic. It’s definitely not an oak monster though as some beautifully balancing citrus notes emerge. Very American in character with a violety note emerging in time. Seriously weighty!

The palate is sublimely soft and succulent. The oak is a shade gentler than the nose would suggest, but still seriously spicy with some zesty, tingly citrus. It all comes together beautifully on the middle. A symphonic mouthful of oak and spirit. Extremely long with hints of herbal honey and grilled nuts. The generous oils coat the mouth and balance out the zesty citrus and slight bittering of the oak at the death.

Every bit as good as its sister cask that Mr Murray gave a 97.5 score too!

Douglas Laing ‘The Clan Denny’ Cambus 1987 (25 year old) 53.1%

Bourbon/ Code: DEN0093/ Dist: Feb 1987 Btl: Jan 2013 (?)/ Tasted: Feb 2013

The nose is lightly floral and displays a delicate graininess before the burnt toffee oak appears. Actually it’s quite fruit for a grain with a good depth of apricot and white fruit. Hints of white pepper and light honey appear. Pleasantly complex and quite vibrant.

The palate is quite sweet and honeyed to start with as those crisp grains are sat in the background. Slowly it moves into rum like molassed fruit before the lovely, hard but sweet grains reappear. Amazingly long with oodles of gentle honey and more spice. Those sweet grains keep going and going! However it never becomes oversweet as the alcohol adds a balancing sweetness.

Douglas Lai ng ‘Clan Denny’ Cambus 1989 (25 year old) 58.1%

Code: DEN0126/ Dist: Sept 1989 Btl: Nov 2014/ Tasted: Dec 2014

Gorgeous aromas of oily tropical apricot and banana along with heather and fudge, Quite spicy with a developing white fruit note and beautifully sweet but edgy spices. Superb balance.

The palate opens with the golden syrup, followed by toast, honey, juicy apricot, banana and white fruit. A riot of peppery spice breaks out on the middle along with gingerbread drizzled with chocolate. Wow! Those spices bite but the oils counter. Very long and intense with the sweet/ bitter battle continuing until the dry spices win. Very impressive. There’s nothing like finishing a tasting session on a high!


Douglas Laing Old Particular Cambus 1991 (24 year old) 51.5%

Refill Bourbon Hogshead/ Code: OLD0316/ DL11172

Dist: Sept 1991 Btl: Apr 2016/ Tasted: June 2016

Dense and oily aromas with a touch of high toned white fruit, white pepper and subtle oak. With time hints of coconut and lime appear.

The palate is subtle and oily with lightly dried fruit, coffee and chocolate. Relatively straightforward with hints of spice, oak and drying tannin on the middle. Long and juicy with a tart citrus and grippy, dusty, tannic finish. Finally some balancing, sweet dried fruit comes through. Lingering spices.

Douglas Laing Old Particular Cambus 1991 (25 year old) 55.1%

Code: OLD0337/ Dist: Sept 1991 Btl: Nov 2016?/ Tasted: Dec 2016

Intensely bready and toasty on the nose with oodles of sweet oak, apricot, pineapple, bruised banana and melon. Wonderfully succulent with a touch of castor sugar, balsamic, oxidised fruit and late hints of camphor and marjoram.

The palate is toasty and oaky with crisp spices and subtle sub-tropical fruit. A touch more tannic and drier with coffee, walnut shell and darker dried fruits appearing. Still wonderfully vibrant and grainy with hints of cigar smoke, dunnage and fragrant oak. A Continues dry on the finish with a touch of smoked meat coated in a balsamic reduction.

Douglas Laing Old Particular Cambus 1988 (27 year old) 51.5%

Code: OLD0244/ Dist: Sept 1988 Btl: Sept 2015/ Tasted: Oct 2015

A full and richly spiced nose of cinnamon, nutmeg and black pepper. There’s a subtle, almost sherried sweetness here and hints of treacle, earth, slightly baked, dark fruit along with hints of fragrant ‘Bourbony’ oak, straw, damp earth and wood smoke. Exceptionally complex and beguiling. Late aromas of damp wood, loam and slightly bitter coffee beans.

The palate is again rich and spicy with a touch of coriander powder joining the cinnamon and nutmeg. A little crisper as the herbal grain assets along with a subtle dried fruit rancio and hints of earth and smoke. Lovely ‘Bourbony’ middle and a long, sweet/ herbal grain finish. The dried fruit lingers along with the damp wood, chocolate and coffee. Superbly mature but still fresh.

Douglas Laing Old Particular Cambus 1988 (27 year old) 48.9%

Refill American oak hogshead/ Code: OLD0282/ DL11047

Dist: Sept 1988 Btl: Jan 2016/ Tasted: May 2016

A nose of oily lemon, crisp, white fruit and herbal/ botanical notes. Hints of vanilla and nutty dried fruit appear with time. Quite light but elegant.

The palate opens with the nutty oak and apricot fruit, followed by sultana and dried citrus. Like the nose it is light and elegant with a gently spiced midle. Long and slightly oily with lingering vanilla ice cream, almond and dry coconut.

Douglas Laing Old Particular Cambus 1988 (28 year old) 50.1%

Refill Bourbon Hogshead/ Code: OLD0403/ DL11607/ Dist: Sept 1988 Btl: Mar 2017/ Tasted: Apr 2017

An aromatic nose of sweet but crisp dried grainy fruit. The oak is very subtle, so that makes the spirit the focal point, but that grain/ cereal character is pleasantly sweet. With time it becomes slightly earthy and smoky.

The palate displays more vanilla oak although the grain is subservient to the oak it comes through strongly. Gently spiced with a hint of citrus on the middle. Medium length with a grainy, dry finish. In fairness it’s lacking a little oxidation character and oak to make it more complex; however it’s quite pleasant though.


Douglas Laing Xtra Old Particular Cambus 1976 (40 year old) 53.1%

Refill Bourbon Hogshead/ Code: XOP0073/ DL11527

Dist: Sept 1976 Btl: Nov 2016/ Tasted: Feb 2017

A very mature nose. It reeks of Armagnac-esque prune, raisin, oxidised fruit and dusty spice. Hints of treacle, vanilla and cedar wood follow along with a touch of wood smoke and citrus. The grain notes nip at the edges but the focus is the wood notes and oxidation character.

The palate is a wonderful explosion of aged wood and spirit. Soft and supple, opening with warming cinnamon spice, oxidised fruit, raisin, walnut, tar, tobacco, leather and molasses. Hints of cedar wood and rummy dried fruit come through on the middle. Long and continuing tobaccoy but the crisp grain rushes through to clean the palate and leave some lovely dusty, tannic spices. The mouth-coating molasses balances and lingers.


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