North British 21 year old Old Particular (Douglas Laing)
Non Chill Filtered
No Added Colouring
£75.65 From Master of Malt
Next up we have a set of Single Grain whiskies from the Douglas Laing camp on their Old Particular label. These are all single cask releases of 20+ year old grain whiskies. First up is the North British (I’m reviewing in age order and this is the youngest at) 21 year old. All of these whiskies are “as natural as you can get”, presented at cask strength, non chill filtered and with no colouring.
On first pour dusty old warehouses are presented on the nose. Full of barrels and cardboard. Whilst that doesn’t sound appealing it nearly immediately develops into a creamy vanilla and old oak. These are old whiskies and are going to need a little time in the glass. After 15 minutes, we have a much richer and deeper vanilla, custard, crème brûlée. There are some light fruits in the form of poached apples and pears. Light runny honey is also prominent, this is quite the desert of whiskies, with sponge cake also evident, this is a good quality (not heavy) syrup sponge with custard, with a sprinkling of chopped, roast hazelnuts over the top.
Arrival is initially sugar sweet with immediate bitterness along the lines of Indian tonic water, sour lemon, some dry vanilla and oak. The development turns back more to the sweeter edge, whilst retaining a nice bitter lemon balance, with dark syrup, chewy toffee, aided by a mouthfeel which makes you want to chew. More creamy vanilla in the late development. Most definitely a sherbert coated lemon bonbon thing going on.
Medium to long in length, interchanging between the citric sourness and toffee sweetness, favouring towards the toffee and custard cream at the very end. Warming on the chest and demanding of another sip.
I actually don’t want to add water as I’m nearly out of it, so a flick of h2o from a fingertip only! Let it sit again for a good 20 minutes. The nose has become quite punchy, lots of lemon citrus, banging oak and Bon Bon sweeties (explains the addition of sweets to the tasting pack!). The palate is less ABV ‘hot’ than undiluted and has a pleasant lemon zinginess, less bitter citrus now and better balanced with the toffee sweetness. The finish retains this confectionary sweet lip smacking citrus. A drop of water and a decent amount of time is a must to release the flavours this whisky has locked within.
This is a demanding whisky, certainly not for the beginner. There are some very interesting flavour combinations in the palate which are exciting to experience. If you like your whisky sweet, this may disappoint, but if you want an engaging, characterful grain experience this will be worth a shot.
Thanks so much to Douglas Laing co. for providing the sample.