I’ve been looking forward to this release ever since my visit to Douglas House in late September. My fascination with vatted malts (officially malt blends) is nothing new, and I find them to hold great promise for being more than the sum of their parts.
I was sitting with Jan Beckers in the tasting room and we were discussing the Remarkable Regional Malts branding move, and said “So with Rock Oyster out, that leaves the Lowlands”. Jan smiled and said quietly “it’s coming…”. I half smiled and said “So it’s Rosebank, St. Mags and Littlemill?”. All lightness aside (although anyone who knows Fred knows that lightness is never really aside), choices are rather limited for Lowland malts these days so this is probably Auchentoshan and Glenkinchie, and possibly some of the young Ailsa Bay that’s starting to show up. Might there be some Daftmill in there? I wouldn’t bank on it, as none of it made it on the market, but in the whisky industry you never really know, do you?
The Epicurean is bottled at a somewhat curious strength of 46.2% ABV, and it really is time to give it a taste.
Douglas Laing’s Remarkable Regional Malts – The Epicurean – Lowlands Malt Blend (46.2% ABV, NCF, NC)
Appearance: Very pale yellow, with thin and rather slow legs.
Nose: Starts off soft, grainy and youngish. With a fresh green fruit sweetness and a touch of allspice. Left to breath for a bit, the allspice gets a little stronger with barley sugar and open fields. Hints of lemon rind develop too.
Palate: Sweet and citrusy, with grapefruit bitterness and a sweet dollop of jam on it. Also, some pepper comes in. The mouth isn’t as sweet as the nose promises, and this really isn’t a detractor, in fact, it’s nice.
Linger: Light bitterness, malt and a very mild chili in a pretty long finish. The sweetness remains for quite a while on the tongue.
I honestly didn’t expect the beautiful bitterness on the palate and linger. This is good whisky, and if it is, indeed, Auchentoshan and Glenkinchie, the vatting did, indeed, make a whole that is larger than the sum of its parts.