Jun 102016

This blog was, from its inception, fascinated with malt blends (don’t you wish we could still call them vatted malts, which is really the proper name for them). The reason for that is that when put together well, you can you can enjoy a whole ensemble of influences, rather a solo player. Indeed, when all parts of the vatting work nicely together, the sum is really greater than the parts.

Photo Credit: Douglas Laing Co.

Photo Credit: Douglas Laing Co.

I’ve reviewed the range of Douglas Laing’s Remarkable Regional Malts, now encompassing Islay, Highlands, Islands, Speyside and the newest edition – the Lowlands Epicurean, to be reviewed in the next few days. As limited editions, some of the expressions also have cask strength editions, with Big Peat’s Christmas edition an annual mainstay, and with a cask strength Rock Oyster joining the roster lately (also, review on the way), it’s time for the second batch for the Speyside blend. I really liked the first batch (reviewed here), and was very much looking forward to tasting the second batch. While Scallywag has three stated signature malts – Mortlach, Macallan and Glenrothes – Fred also mentioned in the Facebook live tasting held last night to launch this expression, that it also includes whisky from Inchgower, Aultmore and Dailuaine.

So how does #2 stack up to #1?

Scallywag cask strength #2 with tubeDouglas Laing’s Scallywag Cask Strength #2 (54.1% ABV, NCF, NC)

Appearance: Bronze within legs running off pretty quickly at first with a lot of residue remaining on the glass around the necklace.

Nose: Sultanas and wood spice together with leather and a hint of grilling meat come through on the first sniff of the whisky. Some floral notes together with some salinity and fresh apricots. A small touch of balsamic vinegar appears after sometime in the glass.

Palate: Dried fruit and Sherry notes peach and some dry tannins. On the palate you can tell that it’s not very old whisky but the Sherry and wood spices work very well with this younger spirit. In fact, the spice kick pulls this dram together on the palate. Fun stuff.

Linger: A lot of Sherry dryness with leather and of espresso and dried apricot role. The leather is very prominent in the long linger, and after a while (and the second sip) dark chocolate and some chili join the party.


This is close to batch number one, with the differences being mainly in highlights (and the spiciness) and not in the base of the whisky itself. I do think that the finish on this batch outperforms batch one.

Sep 082015

Douglas Laing recently launched the ‘Remarkable Regional Malts’ as an umbrella brand for the vatted/blended malts combining the highly popular Islay Big Peat with The Speyside Scallywag, Timorous Beastie from the Highlands and the maritime Rock Oyster from the Islands.

Together with a new website (and online store), Douglas Laing has launched a video for the ‘Remarkable Regional Malts’:

After coming out with an annual Christmas edition of Big Peat at cask strength for the past four years (with a new expression just two months or so away), we get a cask strength Scallywag, the Speyside sherry vatted malt that’s comprised of whisky from the Mortlach, Macallan and Glenrothes distilleries.


Photo Credit: Douglas Laing

Photo Credit: Douglas Laing

Douglas Laing Scallywag Cask Strength (53.6% ABV, NCF, NC)

Appearance: Bronze, thin legs with very long residual droplets.

Nose: Roasting coffee beans , sherry, salty and sweet alcoholic burn, fresh cherries. This is young-ish spirit with quite a bit of sherry, but there’s also caramel, wood spices, and dried fruit that comes out after a bit of time in the glass.

Palate: Sharp peppery spice, with sherry, ground cinnamon and cardamom, together with some very subdued toffee and honey.

Linger: Pepper on the tongue with chili in the back of the gullet, with the residual flavor you get after sucking a Werther’s Original candy, only nowhere near as sweet.


This is a beautiful example of a vatted malt in which the sum is greater than its parts. This dram is complex and enjoyable, especially if spice and sherry are your thing.

I have to say that I really hope to see a cask strength Rock Oyster 🙂

Official sample provided by Douglas Laing & Co.