Aye alright, I know it’s the wrong bottle photographed above, but I blinked and the 40 year old edition promptly vanished from retail. So you’ll have to make do with its younger sibling for the visuals. The main aspect being I acquired a sample elsewhere from a bottle share club hence this review. My apologies for not being quick enough or using stock footage. I’d say it won’t happen again but it will noting the current market demand for value.
Douglas Laing has been on a great run of form in 2016 even with that goddam awful Epicurean however we all have bad days and the source of much enjoyment has been their Old Particular range, which offers single cask malts in their natural state. I’d recommend the Strathclyde 10 year old, the Port Dundas 11 year old and the 33 year old Carsebridge if you can find it. Great prices and presentation all round.
The Timorous Beastie 40 year old edition was a release earlier this year that was limited to just 1080 bottles and priced at £199. That ladies and gentlemen is almost Cadenhead pricing although the classic bottler went one better recently and created at 43 year old for just £135. However this Beastie is blended malt and comes at cask strength of 54.7% and is without any colouring or chill-filtration. Glorious stuff and no wonder it sold out upon debut.
Contained within the blend are whiskies from Highlands including Dalmore, Glen Garioch and Glengoyne plus others. Such vattings can offer a new level of complexity and enjoyment with the 40 statement attracting much attention. It’s difficult not to be swayed by an age statement having recently sat down with a 58 year old Mortlach of all things. I try to put these things aside and concentrate on the actual liquid experience itself.
I’ve had some tremendous young whiskies including one not old enough to technically be called a whisky yet so it shows you age isn’t everything. However it does give you some context and expectation which I also find useful. It’s also a good way to combine whiskies where one may have a slight issue such as a benign cask or where the wood has become more dominant, or is just hovering around the 40% alcohol strength legal minimum. A good blender can combine such stock with other casks and produce something that deserves a round of applause. Shall we see if this applies to the Beastie?
Colour: golden barley
Nose: oh yes, that’s a really rich arrival. A lovely fruit salad mixture with pineapples, apples, peaches, mangoes and lychees. Then added sweetness with toffee, syrup, caramel wafers and honeycomb. Added style with beeswax and candy floss.
Taste: this is a sugar bomb on the palate as well. More honey, syrup and sugar cubes. Caramelised apples, apricot jam and certainly red liquorice which carries into the finish with plums and spearmint. Backing up I’m reminding of a Hot Cross bun here with the sweet dough and spices with cinnamon, orange zest and mixed peel.
Overall: a cracking whisky that’s attractively priced for £200. Put that into context in today’s market and that will get you half a bottle of the new Macallan Rare Black expression, or a full-sized Highland Park Fire which is essentially a 15 year old in fancy packaging. I know which whisky deserves my £200 and its not from Orkney or Speyside. These are both symptoms of the whisky times we currently endure. Thankfully there are whiskies out there such as the Timorous Beastie that offer value combined with a worthwhile experience. Now if I could only find a bottle for myself…