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Tasting the ‘Douglas of Drumlanrig’ 13yo Single Cask from Laphroaig

Tasting the ‘Douglas of Drumlanrig’ 13yo Single Cask from Laphroaig

This could get expensive.

They were my first thoughts when I sipped on a tasting sample of Laphroaig’s ‘Douglas of Drumlanrig’ 13yo Single Cask single malt whisky. I had popped into The Whisky Shop in Bath on a whim, after the gym of all things, and met Tom, the branch’s general manager.

I said I was new to whisky, which is true to the extent I haven’t tried enough of it to really seek out a bottle I want to buy. I am partial to Monkey Shoulder on occasion, but that occasion is often rare.

The point was I wanted to explore new whisky. So I half-expected Tom to enlighten me by guiding me around the products in his shop and tell me about them. Instead we went straight to what I like to drink – for me it’s that smoky, peatiness to whisky when done well that I love – and he dropped down behind the counter and rose with the Douglas of Drumlanrig.

I’d heard of Laphroaig. I don’t mind their Quarter Cask. But this was mind blowingly good.

Tom, good man, opened a brand new bottle of this £116 Whisky Shop exclusive. The Douglas of Drumlanrig is made from one single sherry cask, which was distilled back in 2002 and bottled only last year, producing just 575 bottles per cask. Each release is endorsed by the signature of the Duke of Buccleuch, laird of Drumlanrig Castle in Galloway, south of Glasgow.

The whisky itself was made in Islay, and carries that trademark peaty character with notes of rich fruit loaf, baking spice and sweet caramel. It’s a whisky with a finish that really, really stands out. Smooth, moreish, balanced; just wonderful. A whole league away from drinking Monkey Shoulder.

The range is exclusive to The Whisky Shop and is owned by the independent Glasgow-based bottler Hunter Laing & Co., who draw on the company’s extensive stock of mature malts to produce exceptional whiskies. The Douglas was bottled at 46% (so dangerously good stuff!).

The current 10th Duke of Buccleuch who signed off on the batch I tried is Richard Montagu Douglas Scott. He also just so happens to be the largest private landowner in the UK. Quite an accolade.

He knows great whisky too.