Continuing my quest for an in depth study on vatted malts (officially dubbed “malt blends”), I had the Douglas Laing Double Barrel Caol Ila and Tamdhu vatting. As noted previously in my review of the Ardbeg & Altmore vatting, these are two single barrels of very different whiskys, vatted together to highlight the unique attributes of each.
Caol Ila is a staple Islay whisky, very common and widely available. There is a 12 year-old, an 18 year-old, a Natural Cask Strength, the Distiller’s Edition, the Moch line and some unpeated expressions (which are outstanding – try one if you can). Tamdhu, on the other hand, is a relatively obscure Speyside distillery with one core expression – a 10 year-old fully matured and Sherry butts, as well as a premium edition 10-year-old matured only in first fill Sherry butts. Tamdhu is not imported to Israel and I have not yet had the chance to taste their core expression.
The Douglas Laing blenders did a great job with this vatting, and the Islay peat interplays beautifully with the fruity sweetness brought by the Speysider. This vatting has a very young freshness to it and will conjure up memories of new make spirit in your mind.
If you’ve read the previous double barrel post, you’ll know that my son Aiden really liked that vatting, so I’ll just fill you in that he liked this one even more. While not very complex, this expression is very enjoyable and would serve as an excellent introduction to peated whisky for the uninitiated. Sadly, this vatting has sold out but if you have the opportunity to sample it don’t turn it down.
Douglas Laing Double Barrel Caol Ila & Tamdhu (46% ABV, NCF, NC)
Color: Lightest pale straw with quick legs.
Nose: Wet peat, yesterday’s firepit, sweet lemon, some new make.
Palate: Peat with fresh lemon zest, much more peat on the than suggested by the nose, and dominant notes of bitter almond.
Linger: Shortish, leaving peat and some bittersweet lemon notes on tongue.
All in all, this is an enjoyable, albeit non-complex dram with a very interesting interplay between the Islay and Speyside elements making up this vatting.
My thanks to Cara at Douglas Laing for the official sample.