Scotch Spectacular, January 2023

With January bookended by two important Scottish celebrations – Hogmanay and Burns’ Night – it seemed fitting to kick the year off with a spectacular selection of six stonking Scotches. From rum cask Campbeltowns to triple distilled Speysiders, to wonderfully smoky, cask strength, single cask Lowlanders, there’s something unusual and compelling for everyone to enjoy here. Slàinte mhath, Scotch lovers! – The Dram Team

Scotch Spectacular! January 2023 Box

Benromach, Triple Distilled

Speysider Benromach produces wonderfully robust but balanced whiskies, combining rich flavours from bourbon and sherry casks with gentle wafts of peat smoke. Here, this style is transformed by use of spirit that is triple distilled, rather than the traditional double distillation. Expect a lighter style, with more delicate notes, but still exhibiting their trademark subtle smoke.

Tasting notes 

Nose: Vibrant tropical fruits, leading to malt biscuit, rich vanilla pod and toasted oak.

Palate: Ripe banana flavours combine with poached pear. Green apple develops alongside sweet honey.

Finish: Medium-bodied and long with citrus zest and a hint of soft smoke.

Glen Scotia, Double Cask

Glen Scotia's original Double Cask - matured using Bourbon and Sherry casks - is one of our oldest, most favourite, go-to drams. This new release substitutes the sherry casks for a finish in Guyanese demerara rum barrels, bringing lashes of tasty, cooked sugar, molasses and tropical fruit notes. Very yummy!

Tasting notes:

Nose: Cooked sugar, maritime sea spray and tropical fruits.

Palate: Rich and exotic. Sweet notes of cooked sugar and molasses are balanced by tropical fruit notes of coconut, banana and sweet peach.

Finish: Warming spice and maritime notes linger.

The Gauldrons

Douglas Laing Gauldrons

We love the Remarkable Regional Malts series - and we've been waiting a long time to feature the newest addition to the range, this Campbeltown edition. Named for the dark, stormy coves on Campbeltown's west shores, "The Gauldrons" means "Bay of Storms". A fantastic example of the coastal, maritime style Scotland's smallest whisky region is famous for.

Tasting notes:

Nose: Opens with sea air, gentle smoke, manuka honey and a hint of dried seaweed.

Palate: Initially shows a maritime character, leading to sugary shortbread, dried oak and gristy cereals.

Finish: A distinctly spicy finish bringing puffs of smoke, Madagascan vanilla and cinnamon pancakes.

Clan Denny, Jura 2009

Independent bottlings of Jura are few and far between, and offer a great opportunity to see what this distillery's spirit offers when left to speak for itself. Aged in a straightforward refill hogshead, this single cask release is a far cry from Jura's own label releases, which use some highly complex mixes of wood influence which can somewhat disguise the original spirit character.

Tasting notes:

Nose: The nose reveals a moreish, sweet, brown sugar and butterscotch style.

Palate: The palate reflects the nose but with more depth – anticipate buttered brown bread with thick, creamy honey and toasted oak.

Finish: The lively finish lingers with a touch of baking spice, juicy barley and buttercream icing.

Provenance, Orkney's Finest

We always enjoy the mystery of an anonymous indie bottling - but especially when we have a fighting chance of identifying where it comes from! With only two distilleries on the Orkney Islands - the world-famous Highland Park and the Pernod Ricard-owned Scapa (aka Orkney's "other" distillery) - we'll leave you to deduce which Douglas Laing think the "finest" might be...

Tasting notes:

Nose: Shows a gristy/creamy style initially leading to washed up seaweed and candied lemon peel.

Palate: Has a wonderful peppery warmth alongside thick, salted caramel and burnt buttered toast.

Finish: Brings a tinge of smoke with tinned peaches in syrup and baking spice.

Annandale, Man O'Swords, 2015 Bourbon Cask

Annandale Distillery's founders had a panel of sensory experts determine a peated spirit style that would be unique to them. They landed on a moderate level of peat, combined with distinctly sweet and fruity/estery notes. Here, we enjoy the most authentic possible expression of their carefully designed spirit character: A single bourbon cask bottling, at a whopping cask strength. Wowsers!

Tasting notes:

Nose: An initial burst of fresh green Granny Smith apple opens up to hints of fresh tropical fruits, caramel, vanilla and gentle peat smoke.

Palate: Lingering hints of smoky caramel, tropical fruits such as melon and mango, fresh Granny Smith apple and oak shavings.

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