I first got into contact with Douglas Laing in spring of 2015. Back then I wrote them an e-mail and asked for a hi-res image of the Timorous Beastie label as a template for a tattoo my girlfriend wanted to get on her ankle. Though I bonded closer and closer with the company over time, I was still more than a little surprised when they asked me to join their honorary ambassadors, the amiable Douglas Laing’s Fellows, a short while back. Of course, I did not have to think twice about saying – or should I better say yelling – “Yeessss!”.
But the makers of such renowned whisky ranges as the Old Particular single cask bottlings or the Remarkable Malts premium blends did not leave it at that. When they heard that my better half and I would be in town, they invited us over to the savoury sanctum that lies at the heart of their operations: their fabled sample room. A cozy and stylish chamber in an old building in the center of Glasgow, said location is stuffed with more exquisite malts than any man could drink in a life time. Besides dozens of expressions which have already been brought to the market, it also harbors an infinity of samples from casks that Douglas Laing are either still maturing or considering to buy. Under the guidance of their Global Brand Ambassador Jan, whom I met before at BorderShop Whisky Festival in Puttgarden and Bottle Market in Bremen, we were offered the rare chance to try quite a few of these treasures.
While pouring us one outstanding whisky after the other – starting with the Timorous Beastie 40yo and ending with a Port Ellen 31yo but also including more affordable drams such as a mouthwatering Strathclyde 11yo or a fruit-astic Auchentoshan 13yo – Jan made sure we were perfectly taken care of. Throughout the four hours we sat together, he shared with us not only information on the history of Douglas Laing and war stories from his time on the road, but also gave us a ton of insider tips of where to go and what to see in Glasgow.
In between, Commercial Director Chris and Marketing Assitant Hannah also said “Hi” and stayed for a little chat. Needless to say, getting to know them both was a blast, too. We also would have loved to meet Douglas Laing’s Marketing Manager Jenny, who was the first person at the company I ever got in touch with. But she is on well-deserved holidays at the moment, so we have to postpone shaking hands – or rather hugging – to a later point. Anyway. As goes without saying, this really was an unforgettable experience. And the main reason for this was not the wealth of whiskies Jan poured us, but the incredible hospitality and friendliness we received from him and his colleagues. So if you happen to meet any of the Douglas Laing staff at a fair, go over to their booth, try one of their drams and have a talk. And if you got no chance to meet them in person anytime soon, enjoy one of their fine bottles at home and follow them on social media. They are one helluva open and embracing company and engaging with them in whatever way is great fun and definitely recommended!
*** I was kindly invited to the event by Douglas Laing. ***