Limited Laings + More Glasses

As someone who believes wholeheartedly that blended whisky (and blended malt whisky) is once again where the future lies, I was completely stoked when David OG told me he managed to snag some of the Douglas Laing limited edition blends previously unavailable on the West Coast. While we work directly with the Laings to bring in our Old Particular casks, we are neither the importer nor sole outpost for their outstanding blends. The Timorous Beastie, Rock Oyster, Scallywag, and Big Peat were four of my favorite whiskies in 2017, the one portfolio that managed to give John Glaser over at Compass Box a little competition in the boutique blend category. While a large majority of our discerning Scotch customers still prefer single barrel, cask strength single malt whisky, I think there's a growing number of us (I say us because I'm firmly in this camp) who would like a little more curation with our consumption these days. Personally, I want someone to create something delicious that's beyond than the sum of its parts. I want to be wowed by real whisky craftsmanship and mouthwatering flavor, not by the mere technical idea or concept of a whisky. 

I don't think the blended whisky market ever suffered because the concept of a grand assemblage was stale or outdated, but rather because the industry took its customers for granted. Scotland's great blending houses assumed they could change the recipes, lower the quality, raise the prices, and no one would ever notice. They were dead wrong. Now, however, the independent bottlers who have filled the void for the last decade are going through a similar crisis: they're running out of quality single barrels to sell. Now comes the question: do you bottle a cask with a great name, but a less than stellar flavor profile and turn a blind eye to the consumer (following the same path as the blenders before them), or do you attempt to weave a tapestry of harmony, using other whiskies to fill in the gaps and pick up the slack? I think you all know where I stand. 

If you were a fan of the four aforementioned whiskies, I think you're going to be very happy with these special editions, as well as the insane pricing that David OG was able to knock out. The Rock Oyster 18 is pretty much a blend of Jura, Arran, Highland Park, and a mystery Islay distillery (likely Laphroaig or Caol Ila from what I know of the Laing family's stocks) for less than $100. It's creamy, and salty, and oily, and just peated enough to please fans of the smoke. While you wouldn't know it from the color, there are some lovely, rich sherry notes on the nose and more of that classic Oloroso character on the palate. Then you've got the sherry-finished edition, which packs in more of that decadence in a younger blend, the 18 year old Timorous Beastie that drinks like a more interesting verison of Glenmorangie 18, the 13 year old Scallywag aged entirely in sherry that brings the Christmas cake spices in droves, and the full proof holiday edition of the Big Peat. 

Now the question for us becomes: how many can you afford to buy? Because at these discounted prices you're going to want all of them; at least I do. David OG's notes are below:

Douglas Laing's Rock Oyster 18 Year Old Limited Edition Island Blended Malt Scotch Whisky $89.99 - This limited edition offering of 18 year old malts from Scotland's famous Whisky islands: Islay, Skye, Arran, Orkeny, and Jura. That makes this one of the most affordable old Islands whiskies in the world. You'll not find an 18 year old Single Malt from any of these Islands for anywhere close to this price. The glorious truth about Blended Malt Scotch Whisky, when created with care and thoughtfulness, is that the whole is greater than the some of its parts. A properly blended whisky can truly take you beyond any of the components within and the Rock Oyster 18 year is the perfect example. It gives great us incredible depth, elegance and complexity, in a perfectly seemless package for a price almost any Scotch drinker can appreciate. The nose is distinctly maritime with a quick rush of sea spray and a smoldering block of Sweet peat to start. It glances toward the earthy fresh tobacco and rich malt as it enters the palate offering a true Island style rather than allowing the overbaring Islay malt to take over. The finish is perfectly balanced with a sweet barley sugar and spicy phenol playing off each other perfectly for a long smoldering finish. Incredible value here that's just not available in the price point anywhere else.

Douglas Laing's Rock Oyster Sherry Limited Edition Island Blended Malt Scotch Whisky $49.99 - Here is the excellent Rock Oyster Blended Malt that we've loved so much with additional aging in high quality sherry butts from Jerez. The standard Rock Oyster takes our favorite Island malts, none of which cannot be named, from distilleries you know and love, blends them together thoughtfully and offers them at a very attractive price. That wonderful whisky highlights those special malts created Scotland's Island distilleries (think Jura, Islay, Skye, Arran and Orkney). Very little go together better than salty maritime malt and sherry, so our friends at Douglas Laing have offered us this spectacular Limited Edition whisky for sale exclusively by K&L in California. What's even crazier is that we're able to offer you this special Oyster for LESS than the standard release. True, it doesn't make sense, but we're not paid to offer you a rational, just great whisky at the best possible price. This will likely be one of the best values of 2018 and it's only just started!

Douglas Laing's Timorous Beastie 18 Year Old Limited Edition Highland Blended Malt Scotch Whisky $89.99 - The Timorous Beastie has long been one of our favorite blends and we're proud to be offering this exceptional limited edition version at an extremely reasonable price. This special blend highlights some of the Highlands finest, so expect the malt to be front and center here. The primary suspects here are the wonderful Glen Garioch from the east, Blair Athol from the South and Dalmore from the North. These three excellent distilleries offer something of a classic style as compared to some of the more modern Speysiders. Creamy rich and malty, but not overly bready. Sweet dark berries, carmelized sugar, pulvarized apple and pear and a touch of muesli. This is a detailed snapshot of what malty highland scotch is all about. For lovers of the natural unadulterated style of Highland Single Malt, this blend will over deliver at this price point.

Douglas Laing's Scallywag 13 Year Old Limited Edition Speyside Blended Malt Scotch Whisky $59.99 - The Scallywag blended malt has been well received by Scotch lovers and critics alike for its elegance and nuance. It's a blended of the great Speyside distilleries, like Macallan, Mortlach, Glenrothes and many more. Typically a small amount of sherried whisky is included in the blend with the majority coming from refill hogsheads and bourbon barrels. The Limited Edition Scallywag, however, has spent 13 long years entirely in Sherry butts from Jerez. It is indeed what some might term a Sherry Bomb, yet it remains balanced and full of life. Expect a nose of dense dried fruit, Christmas cake, tobacco spice and an underlying nuttiness. The palate adds some herbal spice, sweet molasses, and texture for days. Absolutely absurd that we can sell this for less than the standard offering. A totally perfect way to spend a cool winter evening.

Douglas Laing's Big Peat "Christmas" Limited Edition Cask Strength Islay Blended Malt Scotch Whisky $49.99 - The exceptional Big Peat Christmas 2017 arriving perfectly timed to avoid any holiday gifting or sharing with unappreciative relatives. The 2017 Christmas Edition of Big Peat is the probably the best received of these always beloved annual releases. This is a blend of sevenIslay single malts including the rare closed Port Ellen distillery. Douglas Laing has confirmed Bowmore, Caol Ila and Ardbeg, so that leaves Kilchoman, Lagavulin, Laphroaig and Bunnahabhain for us to speculate about. High quality blended malt bottled at full strength from these rare special distilleries, we'd expect a hefty price tag. Since we have the California exclusive, we can offer you this amazing whisky for the best price anywhere in the world. Enjoy it now or stock up for the 2018 Holidays. (MORE BOTTLES COMING SOON)

I'm glad I'm not the only person who thinks this is the best Scotch glass ever created. I went to a whisky tasting a few weeks ago and ran into some of my customers who were bringing their own Denver & Liely whisky glass with them for the event. I've been selling out of these babies as fast as I can get Denver to ship them to me from Australia (he's now working on a Bourbon glass, too!). If you need the perfect vessel from which to drink your new Douglas Laing blended malt whiskies, look no further. This is the glass I use at K&L for my tasting every single day. 

Denver & Liely Whisky Glass (cannot be shipped) $39.99 - Ignore the website's stock photo. The glass is as shown in my image above.

-David Driscoll

David Driscoll