Archive for the ‘Girvan’ Category

Carn Mor Celebration of the Cask Grivan 1989 (27 year old) 47.5%

Bourbon Barrel 37527/ Dist: Apr 1989 Btl: Feb 2017/ Tasted: Mar 2017

A high toned but deep nose of slightly smoky dried fruit. There is a slight alcohol prickle which is emphasising the lime notes. It becomes quite nutty as the charred oak begins to assert itself, showing a slight desiccated coconut note. Pleasantly deep and quite elegant.

The palate is a little fuller and oilier than the nose with plenty of robust (by Girvan standards) dried fruit – sultana, apricot and dried grape. The oak comes through with a light coconutty/ marzipan character and some subtle spice notes. Lovely length and intensity with a touch of lime and elderflower in the finish and the toasty oak lingering pleasantly.

A drop of water makes the nose heavier and oilier with less dried fruit and a little more oak – warm almond and hazelnut notes. The palate on the other hand is fresher and grainier with less of the nutty oak and more emphasis on the white chocolate coated dried white fruit and spice.

Carn Mor Celebration of the Cask Girvan 1989 (27 year old) 51.4%

Bourbon Barrel 67863/ Dist: Dec 1989 Btl: Oct 2017/ Tasted: Dec 2017

A big hit of coconutty and vanilla oak. Hints of sultana, dried apricot, nuts and a sliver of honey. The aromas have a lovely depth and roundness. With time hints of darker, rummy fruit and wood spice appears.

The palate is full and richly oaked – vanilla, dry toffee and a touch of dark chocolaty tannins and wood spice. Lovely balancing notes of dried grainy fruit, which lingers through to the finish along with the spices.


The Girvan Patent Still Grain 25 year old Launch Edition 42%

Tasted: Feb 2016

Nose: Fresh, high toned and relatively young (in grain terms) there’s some nascent dried fruit and plenty of herbal/ grassy notes. With time some lightly estery banana and pineapple appear along with some creamy oak.

Palate: Fuller and weightier with the dried fruit showing a more oilier character and a light rum-like demeanor. The alcohol gives it a good piquancy.

Finish: Medium length with quite a youthful, grainy finish.

Conclusion: A pleasant if not earth shattering grain.

The Girvan Patent Still Grain No Age Statement Proof Strength 57.1%

Tasted: Feb 2016

Nose: Stunning depth of Cognac-esque dried fruit, liquid honey, apricot, nuts and moist fruitcake. The oak is dusty and mature and overall the balance is superb. A drop of water brings out some lovely fruity esters and an almost rye-like note.

Palate: Given the abv it is remarkably soft. A little crisper than the nose but still full of mature dried fruit. Possibly there is some sherry at work here as a subtle raisinated/ pruney character comes through along with a smidge of dark honey. With water the palate shows its age with the fruit disappearing to be replaced by an over straw-like character.

Finish: Long with lingering, slightly earthy, dried fruit.

Conclusion: It comes across as a lovely middle aged grain, possibly somewhere in the region of 35 years? Best drunk neat though.

Hunter Liang Sovereign Girvan 1991 (25 year old) 58.9%

Bourbon/ Code: SOV2102/ Dist: Oct 1991 Btl: 2017/ Tasted: May 2017

Gentle, delicate. lemony dried fruit aromas with hints of neutral spirit and developing oak notes of coconut, mocha and wood smoke. it certainly doesn’t feel its age and the relative lack of oak gives it a subtly oak aged vodka type of character.

The palate is not as alcoholic as you would think. Again it’s crisp with lemony fruit and a subtle grainy spiciness. The alcohol does come through on the middle with some coconutty oak. That alcohol slightly masks the finish but it has a lovely soft spiciness with lingering coconut.

A drop of water takes the edge of the citrus but makes it simpler. Likewise the palate, but it is a little sweeter as the honey notes have come out. Still quite coconutty and subtly spiced on the finish.

Hunter Laing Sovereign Girvan 1988 (26 year old) 46.9%

Code: SOV2051/ Dist: Oct 1988 Btl: Nov 2014/ Tasted: Dec 2014

A big, spicy and grainy oak nose with hints of edgy, earthy, dried fruit, light camphor and sweet-ish herbal notes. The aromas move into lightly toasted toffee and baked apple. Quite dry as the sugars are being buffeted by the oak, which gives the nose some weight and with time a touch of lazy smoke and spice appears.

The palate is quite grainy like the nose with the lightly coffee’d tannins up first. Wow! That is really drying and bittering. Yes, there is some dried fruit but the oak input is enormous. The alcohol doesn’t help with the drying sensation either. Long and spicy with the oak lingering.

Water brings out the ‘Bourboness’ of the oak along with crème caramel and toffee. On the palate it softens the oak and lessons its impact, so that some dried fruit comes through, but it does make it a little simpler.

Hunter Laing Sovereign Girvan 1979 (36 year old) 51%

Bourbon/ Code: SOV2081/ Dist: May 1979 Btl: Mar 2016/ Tasted: Apr 2016

Full and robust aromas of oily dried fruit and grainy notes. Almost malty in character with developing treacle, toasted vanilla oak, milk chocolate, smoked toffee and subtle but sweet spices.

The palate is soft and nutty with gentle dried fruit, liquorice, dark chocolate and spice. Quite drying on the middle as the tannins arrive bringing some bitter, French coffee notes. Long and spicy but remaining dry with lingering chocolate coated dried fruit. Very impressive.

Berry Brothers Own Selection Girvan 1989 (22 year old) 46%

Bourbon Barrel 37532/ Dist: 1989 Btl: 2011/ Tasted: Aug 2012 

Pleasantly high toned aromas which are light and herbal along with some toasted toffee oak. As often is the case it resembles an oak aged vodka with quite a creamy almost starchy note. 

The palate is much the same as the nose. Pleasantly soft and creamy with herbal toffee and a touch of dried fruit on the middle. Good length with a touch of charcoal and herbs on the finish.

Douglas Laing Girvan Tasting Notes

Posted: November 24, 2011 in Girvan

Douglas Laing ‘The Clan Denny’ Girvan 1993 (20 year old) 56.7%

Bourbon/ Code: DEN0123/ Dist: Dec 1993 Btl: Sept 2014/ Tasted: Oct 2014

The nose is quite oily with elegant Gyanan-esque dried fruit and subtle oak vanillins. Fresh and grainy with some creamy spirit notes.

The palate displays a greater degree of oak along with heavy honey and grainy spirit notes. A touch of dried fruit comes through with building pepper and toffee on the middle. Lovely length with the oily dried fruit returning and a lingering, light tequila-esque pulped white fruit after-taste. It’s probably not the most complex of grain whiskies that I’ve tasted but it delivers rather well.

Douglas Laing ‘The Clan Denny’ Girvan 1992 (21 year old) 59.6%

Bourbon/ Code: DEN0100/ Dist: Feb 1992 Btl: Mar 2013/ Tasted: Apr 2013

The nose is high toned and a little spirit, like young-ish Girvan can be. Soft vanilla is interwoven with the lightly botanical neutral spirit notes. With time a little, light dried fruit appears along with some light smoke and sweet spices.

Full-ish and vanilla’d on the palate with sweet caramel, fudge and gentle herbal spirit notes. Very intensely alcoholic on the middle with those herbal notes increasing in intensity. Good length with a sweet, sugar coated vanilla finish.

With water the nose becomes simpler and it is reminiscent of an oak aged vodka. However some lovely cinnamon spice and gun flint notes have now emerged. The palate is a touch sweeter with some corn-like note. Again simpler but the drier spices are sublime.

Douglas Laing Clan Denny Girvan 1965 (46 year old) 49.7%

Bourbon/ Code: DEN0079/ Dist: June 1965 Btl: Nov 2011/ Tasted: Nov 2011

A lovely, sweet-ish nose – Muscavado sugar coated grain! Yum! The nose becomes crisper as the grain bites and forces the oak into the background. Seriously grainy now but some gorgeous rum like dried fruit has become to emerge. Stunningly complex.

Again the palate is quite sweet to begin with but the edgy grains balance that out rather well. Hints of honey glazed smoked meat and juicy dried fruit appears, but the grain and piquant alcohol keep the sweetness in check until the very end when some lovely, creamy coffee’d vanilla is let loose. Still it has a very mouth-watering finish and a lovely honeyed spice finish.


Douglas Laing Old Particular Girvan 1997 (20 year old) 51.5%

Refill Bourbon Hogshead/ Code: OLD0536/ DL12191

Dist: Dec 1989 Btl: Nov 2017/ Tasted: Jan 2018

The nose is quite perfumed with toasty oak and high toned, nutty dried fruit. The oak really comes through strongly and becomes quite dominant, but it’s pleasantly vanilla’d and Bourbony.

Again the palate shows a lot of oak character – toast, caramel, toffee and peanut. Hints of lightly dried fruit on the middle but the oak is dominating. Long and toasty with subtle citric note.

Douglas Laing Old Particular Girvan 1994 (21 year old) 51.5%

Refill Barrel/ Code: OLD0270/ Dist: May 1994 Btl: Nov 2015/ Tasted: Dec 2015

A gorgeous nose of gently peppery spice and edgy dried fruit along with chunky but supportive oak. Hints of fleshy fruit, lemon, vanilla and marzipan appear but the edgy grain notes are still quite prominent.

The palate shows a little more oak and thus feels fuller with lightly treacly coated dried fruit and hints of peppery spice and herbs. Superb depth with developing apricot and tangerine on the middle. Long with a lovely crisp and herbal finish.

Douglas Laing Old Particular Girvan 1989 (25 year old) 51.5%

Bourbon/ Code: OLD0218/ Dist: Dec 1989 Btl: July 2015/ Tasted: Aug 2015

Intense and very grainy aromas of coffee infused honey and gritty tannins. The aromas are quite dark and almost malty in character with hints of treacle, marzipan, oily dried fruit and earth.

The palate is a little lighter and opens with a lovely intensity of rummy dried fruit. Just a hint of coffee comes through along with a subtle herbalness. The oils kick in pleasantly on the middle and the oak begins to show. Lovely finish with the citrus going head to head with the oils. Herbal, dried fruit after-taste.

Douglas Laing Old Particular Girvan 1990 (25 year old) 51.5%

Code: OLD0238/ Dist: Mar 1990 Btl: Sept 2015/ Tasted: Oct 2015

A wonderfully mature and woody nose with plenty of crisp, high toned, classic Girvan grain and sultana. The luscious, sweet, coconuty, creamy oak comes through quite powerfully. Lightly herbal with a slight earthiness and demerera sugar. With time the coconut really intensifies!

The palate opens with the luscious coconut oak and dried apricot , sultana and citrus. Lovely intensity and crispness with layers of dried fruit. Long and succulent with lingering astringent herbal spice, demerera sugar and coconut.

James McArthur Old Masters Girvan 1989 (16 year old) 58%

Bourbon Cask 110851/ Dist: 1989 Btl: 2005/ Tasted: Jan 2007

Oh my, this isn’t whisky it’s gin!!!!! And very good gin at that. Quiet estery on the nose with garden flowers, juniper and botanicals, yet lurking underneath is a crisp grain note. The palate is just like the nose suggests, light, very gin like, whistle stop clean, with a touch of natural sweetness and oodles of juniper.

A drop of water brings out its complexity, a citrus lemon note and a slight banana and apricot note. On the palate it softens, again emphasising the citrus lemon and oh so sweet and juicy apricot fruit, with the perfumed botanicals returning on the finish. So if you are a gin lover, give this one a try – it’s certainly unique!

James MacArthur Old Masters Girvan 1989 (22 year old) 63%

Bourbon Cask 110633/ Dist: Sept 1989 Btl: 2011/ Tasted: Nov 2011

The nose has a stunning depth and complexity, opening with some juicy, dried sultana, date and prunes all liberally sprinkled with demarara sugar. The oak is full and rich but balanced by the high toned Girvan grain character. With time some sweet cherry and violet aromas emerge. 

The palate is full and sweetly oaked with some beautiful oils coating the rum-like dried fruits. Wonderfully mature oak vanillins fill the mouth and event though the alcohol is pretty intense those wonderful sun dried juicy raisin, sweet, plump sultana and date notes keep it in check. As expected the oak does bitter out the finish a touch but it adds some lovely 100% cocoa chocolate and mocha. Finally the sweet grain puts in an appearance along with a fat corn note. Seriously intense stuff and seriously good! 

A drop of water doesn’t change the nose very much, maybe making it a touch oiler, whereas on the palate it tames the alcohol and allows the mouth coating oils full reign – both vanilla and walnut oil. Still supremely juicy and wonderfully long and balanced.

Blackadder Raw Cask Girvan 1990 (15 year old) 59.4%

Bourbon Hogshead 169128/ Dist: Dec 1990 Btl: May 2005/ Tasted: July 2006

A heavily estery nose of gin like botanicals, dried salted apricots, creamy vanilla oak, earth, light beeswax and floor polish. Strangely it seems both young and old(ish) at the same time. The palate is clean, crisp and earthy. Quite oily and slightly floral with loads of lovely delicately spiced dried fruit on the middle and a long almost tart/ grainy finish. 

Water emphasises the oils on the nose and brings out a delicate, sweet spice note. Whilst on the palate a yummy sweet cereal note emerges along with a lovely nutty fruitness.