Sitting on an incredible wealth of casks, Glaswegian indie bottlers Douglas Laing & Co. have the right whisky for pretty much every preference, occasion and wallet in their portfolio. While their Provenance range usually consists of affordable pours, the Old Particular line can also include pricier expressions. And the XOP selection – which is short for Xtra Old Particular – traditionally caters to the needs of drammers with deeper pockets to dig into. In my latest review flight, I have sipped a whisky from each of these categories, namely a 12 years old Jura (Provenance), a 12 years old Bunnahabhain (Old Particular) and a 25 years old Tullibardine (XOP). The one thing they all have in common: I enjoyed them quite a bit!
Jura 12yo “Coastal Collection” Provenance
(Provenance • Single Malt • Islands • 48%)
Let’s start with the second release in Douglas Laing’s new Coastal Collection (which resides within the Provenance range). Color-wise, the 12-year-old single malt is light and sandy – like the beaches on the island it originates from. Upon first sniff, however, I do not get too many maritime notes. Instead, the bouquet is lovely and delicate with lemon slices, butter cookies and cocktail cherries plus a pinch of ginger. The odors are more on the light side, but they also have some weight to them. On the palate, this Jura is a whisky equivalent to a creamy chocolate milk shake! It is full-bodied, tongue-pleasing and mouth-watering! The finish is of medium length and feels a bit reserved at first. Later, it becomes more aromatic with banana split, caramel and apricot. Further back, there are also some grassy and mineralic qualities. And, of course, more yummy milk chocolate.
Bunnahabhain 12yo Old Particular
(Old Particular • Single Malt • Islay • 48.4%)
This unpeated Islay malt has the color of white wine. Its bouquet screams “Pastry galore”! It offers oven-warm gooseberry cake garnished with honey glaze and roasted almonts. Instead of sugar, however, someone poured cinnamon, muscat and white pepper on top. A breeze of salt-laden sea air is also there. The aroma is quite heavy and thick. Fittingly, the mouthfeel is oily and syrupy. When I wash my oral cavity with the creamy spirit, I get toasted bread, beeswax, milk chocolate and peanut butter. Further back, some salt and spices provide additional complexity. The half-long finish is robust and sweetish with unripe yellow fruits and chocolate-flavored cereal bars. The salt is no longer present at this point. And throughout the entire tasting experience, no more than a quantum of peat was noticable.
Tullibardine 25yo XOP
(Xtra Old Particular • Single Malt • Highlands • 55.3%)
In the eye, this Highlands jewel shimmers in a light shade of yellow. The nose is wonderfully sweet with marzipan, cream, peach and mandarine. A curd-like freshness and a tropical fruitiness are part of the mix as well. And so is a soft whiff of camomile. The high ABV is beautifully interwoven. Despite being a quarter of a century old, the whisky feels light and rejoicing in the nose. On the tongue, the liquid is vigorous and sparkling. Sweet n’ sour notes dominate: candied orange slices, fresh-cut pinapple chunks and fluffy lemon sorbet with white chocolate sprinkles on top. Deeee-licious! After swallowing, the mandarines and oranges become a tad more bitter. They rather feel like pomelos and grapefruits now. Burnt sugar and sawed wood chime in, too. The aftertaste makes no move to fade anytime soon. It stimulates the mouth in a satisfying way, leaving a tingle but not a burn. If you are looking for a well-aged malt that has kept its juvenile freshness over the years, this Tullibardine 25yo is for you!
Jura 12yo Provenance (Malt / Islands / 12 Years / Refill butt / 383 bottles / 48% / ~58 Euro)
Bunnahabhain 12yo Old Part. (Malt / Islay/ 12 Years / Refill hogsh. / 355 bottles / 48.4% / ~65 Euro)
Tullibardine 25yo XOP (Malt / Highlands / 25 Years / Refill hogs./ 250 bottles / 55.3% / ~350 Euro)
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*** Whisky samples kindly provided by Douglas Laing & Co. ***