Having visited a fair share of distilleries and attended quite a few masterclasses, tastings and fairs throughout the first half of 2017, my palate made the acquaintance of many outstanding whiskies this year. Naturally, it is impossible to say which of them was THE best. If you’d force me at gunpoint to name just one whisky as my “Discovery of 2017” though, I would most likely go with this incredible Strathclyde 11yo from Douglas Laing’s celebrated Old Particular range. Seldomly did a whisky leave such a massive impression on me upon the very first sip. It is rich, complex, lasting and – most importantly – different from any other dram I had so far. Okay, I recently tried its sister bottling, the Strathclyde 10yo by Old Particular, and that one goes into a similar direction. But other than that I do not remember ever having found a similar flavour profile in a dram. Since I cannot think of a more precise way to put it, I somehow feel the need to drop the buzzword “umami” here as it seems to implicate most of the qualities I singled out in this whisky (which I was told is one of the current faves of Douglas Laing’s Managing Director and Master Blender Fred Laing). It is strikingly spicy, deliciously fruity, slightly bitter, unobtrusively salty and simply phenomenal! However, there is one downside to it: The sherry butt in which this magnificent pour slumbered for “11 glorious years” (as the label puts it) only produced 306 bottles. So you better grab yours quickly!
Eye: Fox brown with a golden lustre.
Nose: Intense, imbuing and pretty unique, this one-of-a-kind grain whisky fills our nostrils with a baffling mix of dried spices and preserved fruits. Above all, there is a peculiar odour I cannot really pin down. It somehow reminds me of Asian breadsticks.
Palate: This high-strength Strathclyde is as amazing in the mouth as it is in the nose! In it, the slight bitterness that you often find in grain whiskies mingles with a wonderful sherry sweetness and a totally awesome spiciness.
Finish: There is no way this sensational dram is going to leave you anytime soon. Towards the end, it gets less spicy and more sweet. There is something about it that makes it taste almost like a rum.
Type: Single Grain Scotch Whisky
Region: Scotland (Lowlands)
Age: 11 Years
Cask: Sherry Butt
No. of bottles: 306
Alc. volume: 55.6%
Bottle size: 0.7 litres
Price range: ~65.00 Euro
More info: http://www.douglaslaing.com/ (Bottler) ; http://www.bremerspirituosencontor.de/ (Importer)