Douglas Laing North British Tasting Notes

Posted: June 16, 2012 in North British

Douglas Laing Directors Cut North British 1960 (50 year old) 57.1%

Bourbon/ Code: DIR0017/ Dist: Jul 1960 Btl: June 2012/ Tasted: June 2012

There are some whiskies that have such a complex nose that it takes quite a while to unpick them, and this is one of them. The aromas are ever changing and kaleidoscopic in character. Without a doubt this is the finest old grain whisky I have had the pleasure of tasting.

The nose opens with a serious intensity of herbal oak, which has an almost Oloroso cask richness. Oily, viscous, liquid dark toffee and molasses follow. There’s liquorice coated dried fruit by the bucketful along with hints of tobacco. The grain nips rather pleasantly adding spice and balance. As it opens up the oak takes on a big, Bourbon-like sheen (in fact if I didn’t know what it was you would be forgiven for thinking this was an old Bourbon as there is a definite old wheat/ corn/ rye complexity going on here!) Oh and it positively reeks of maturity. There’s a touch of camphor, lime and dark tea leaves now along with some slightly creamy Colombian coffee and a touch of chlorine. Damn, this is truly stunning!

Wonderfully soft and mature on the palate with oak vanillins and tannins, shot through with some gorgeously spicy grain. Hints of toffee, liquorice, mocha and burnt wood follow. The silky dried fruits have a rum-like quality to them along with a more Cognac-esque rancio. The oils build trying to counteract the grains as they hammer the mid palate. Wow, this is a serious hit! Buckets of warming spice and sweet dried fruit are deposited on the tongue. Hugely concentrated and amazingly long with a silky, cocoa bean after-taste. Yes it’s expensive, but it’s a monumental dram!

Douglas Laing Directors Cut North British 1962 (52 year old) 41.1%

Bourbon/ Code: DIR0089/ Dist: May 1962 Btl: June 2014/ Tasted: July 2014

A gorgeously dense and dusty nose of edgy Guyana-esque dried fruit, piquant spice, sultana, dried white grape, apricot, banana skin and hints of beeswax and kerosene. Lightly smoked with a touch of toasted oak, crystallised violet and Colombian coffee. Subtle, complex and vibrant with late notes of brown sugar encrusted citrus, herbs, white and black pepper.

The palate is wonderfully soft, opening with the demerara coated dried fruit. Elegant, deep and gentle with again a distinct, lightly oiled, fruity Guyana-like character. Hints of mature American oak, wood spice, light tannins and almond shell come through on the middle. Amazingly delicate and moist with a drizzle of honey appearing on the middle. An amazing length with hints of coal smoke, dry coffee grains and lingering dried fruit.


Douglas Laing ‘Clan Denny’ North British 1994 (20 year old) 51%

Code: DEN0128/ Dist: Oct 1994 Btl: Jan 2015/ Tasted: Feb 2015

The nose opens with burnt coffee grains, treacle and dark, dried fruit. Hints of liquorice and fragrant spice follow. The oak is pretty well hidden but it does add a touch of vanilla sweetness. With time the oak really fills out and becomes quite fragrant and bourbony, but the graininess of the spirit balances.

The palate is soft and sweetly oaked with a big bourbon character. Vanilla, toffee, treacle and dark, stewed plumy fruit follows. Some freshening grain notes and a touch of coffee come through on the middle. It feels a lot more mature than the nose with some lovely, lightly oiled sultana and dried citrus on the finish. Some gentle spice and warm vanilla notes linger.


Douglas Laing Old Particular North British 1993 (21 year old) 40.6%

Refil Bourbon Hogshead/ Code: OLD0216/ Dist: Oct 1994 Btl: July 2015/ Tasted: Aug 2015

Young and herbal aromas with fragrant dried fruit and hints of vanilla. Quite crisp with a light balsamic note along with earth and tobacco.

The palate shows more oak, which gives it a lovely soft creaminess. Lightly rum-like dried fruit and crisp grain notes some through. Good length with lingering, oily, herbal grain along with a touch of coffee and hickory.

Douglas Laing Old Particular North British 1994 (21 year old) 48.1%

Refill Bourbon Barrel/ Code: OLD0274/ DL10996

Dist: Oct 1994 Btl: Nov 2016/ Tasted: Mar 2017

Quite deep and rich on the nose with mature honey and high toned dried fruit. Lovely combination of both crisp and sweet grain notes along with integrated oak. With time it develops a light floral edge and a subtle chocolate and wood smoke.

The palate opens with the crisper grain notes and subtle wood smoke infused dried fruit. Lovely depth with a developing almost salty freshness and unobtrusive oak. Long and juicy with lingering dried fruit, crisp grain and salt. Superbly balanced.

Douglas Laing Old Particular North British 1988 (27 year old) 50.2%

Refill Bourbon Hogshead/ Code: OLD0239/ Dist: July 1988 Btl: Sept 2015/ Tasted: Oct 2015

The nose opens with the crisp and grainy aromas with oily honey, dried fruit and citrus. The ‘Bourbony’ oak comes through quite powerfully and becomes quite fragrant in the process adding notes of vanilla, coconut and hazelnuts. The freshness really intensifies and becomes almost salty in character….. Wow!

There is a little more oak showing on the palate and with the luscious honey and dried fruit it makes it feel a little fuller. However the herbal grain comes through on the middle with a breath taking intensity, leaving the dense dried fruit and oak to fill in behind. Again it has an almost salty freshness on the finish – salt sprinkled citrus? Lovely herbal after-taste with just a light bittering from the wood.



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