Douglas Laing – Timorous Beastie

Tasting Notes

Recently released, leading independent Scotch Whisky specialist, Douglas Laing & Co (@DLaingWhisky) announced the release of their brand new Highland Vatted Malt which includes (amongst others) Blair Athol, Glengoyne, Glen Garioch and Dalmore  –  Timorous Beastie.  Bottled at 46.8% ABV and available from a number of retailers for a price of approximately Price £34.99 per 70cl bottle

The company was established over 65 years ago, and is a leading independent Scotch whisky blender and bottler specialising in the selection and release of Single Cask and Small Batch Malt Scotch Whiskies.

The company was founded by Fred Douglas Laing in 1948 and is still owned and run by the Laing family – Fred Laing Jr and his daughter Cara Laing.

Timorous BeastieThe Timorous Beastie packaging is in keeping with the Scallywag packaging, in that it’s beyond cute, with a very sweet mouse, inspired by Rabbie Burns poem: To a Mouse.   However, Douglas Laing say that there mouse is not for the faint hearted.  Let’s see if it’s cowering or beastly!

The lovely Cara kindly provided us with a sample for review, during my recent visit to Douglas Laing HQ:

Kirsty – @KirstyClarke29

Nose:

Airfix glue at the start, once those notes have died down a little you can unpeel the layers.  That initial airfix glue, becomes tart white grapes with a good measure of gooseberries thrown in too.  There are strawberry laces, the fizzy ones that make your mouth water, and then softer notes of gentle honey and floral sweet heather.  There’s just a hint of creamed coconut, and a definite soft apples and caramel, like a toffee apple.  The sugar is burnt and the apple soft and delicate and then the spice!  Almost chilli like on the nose, with a gentle undercurrent of nutmeg and all spice, just as it all becomes almost saccharine sweet, in comes cinnamon and little white pepper.

Palate:

Not as hot on the palate as the nose would have you believe.  Just a lovely warmth, like warm honey tricking down your throat.  Somewhat surprisingly it’s the subtle floral heather tones that are first to shine through, in the way that most Highland whiskies do.  There’s a slight lavender edge and definite wild strawberries, and then milk chocolate sauce layered over homemade rice pudding come in.  The top crunchy skin of the rice pudding, with concentrated nutmeg and sugar and then decedent, good quality milk chocolate, run over your tongue, coating your mouth at every turn.  There is a slight bitterness, from the oak, this is drying and almost too much, but as the soft leather tannins turn up, it tempers this somewhat.

Finish:

Long, you will be chewing this for quite some time.  The sweetness really runs the show, although it is at times, both hot and drying, and there is a definite chilli tingle on the palate.  However, this never becomes too overpowering though as a perfect balance of floral heather, honey sweetness, and ground spices, keeps this at just the right level.

Overall Conclusions:

A bit of a dram of two halves.  Hot and wild on the nose, warm and (for the most part) gentle on the palate.  Douglas Laing have used their experience and some cracking whisky, again to make a perfectly balanced whisky that really encapsulates the Highland style.  It’s incredibly sweet, but there is just enough fire to stop this becoming sickly and keeps this a well-rounded dram.  Timorous? No, but not quite ferocious either, I’d say a cute mouse with a bit of a bite, and well worth a try!  The price makes this excellent value for money.

Stewart – @StewartCraigon

Nose:

Toffee, sweet, melted toffee, mixing in with oranges and apples.  Then comes in more sugar sweetness, this time from boiled sweets and boiled milkChocolate drops right at the end before the oakiness invites you to take a sip.

Palate:

Hot toffee, melting in a bowl is the first thing you notice.  The sweetness of this dram has to be tasted to be believed.  Almost overpowering but just managing to rein itself in at the last second.  Heat from the boiled milk comes to the fore along with the apples from the nose.  Once the heat dissipates then the sugars start to take control again, a fudge like velvet coating in  your mouth.

Finish:

The sweetness is there right till the end and a burst of heat is still noticeable.   Quite a long finish, you know you have tasted this, plenty to keep chewing on.

Overall Conclusions:

A lovely vatted malt from Douglas Laing, they’ve really captured the essence of the Highlands in this dram with the sweet toffee and sumptuous fruit.  I am not a massive fan of Highland drams but this one is well worth a visit every now and then.  The heat can be ferocious at times but in a good way, this is one mouse that likes to roar.

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