Douglas Laing – An Introduction

This Thursday, I’m going to be taking part in a Tweet Tasting of Douglas Laing’s revamped Provenance range.  I’ll be honest and admit that I’m not overly familiar with the company or its whiskies, so I though the occasion would be a great opportunity to become more familiar with one of Scotland’s leading independent bottlers.

The company was established in 1948 by Fred Douglas Laing, who had worked with an American friend during World War II to develop two different Blended Scotch Whiskies, which went on to sell throughout the USA and Europe.  Fred would go on to take sole ownership of the company, and from 1949 onwards, set up preferred filling programmes with as many distilleries as possible.

Over the past seventy years, the family has gone from strength to strength, and is currently helmed by the third generation of the family – Fred Hamilton Laing (Fred Jr) and his daughter, Cara Laing.  It was previously run by Fred and his brother Stewart, but they decided to divide up the assets equally in 2013, with Stewart leaving to set up new whisky firm – Hunter Laing & Co.

Today, Douglas Laing focusses on artisan, small batch and single casks bottlings.  Unlike many independent bottles, distilleries fill directly into Douglas Laing’s own casks, with the spirit then matured and bottled or blended when the company deems fit.

The company focuses on all different types of whisky, including:

  • Single Malt Scotch Whisky – which includes the award-winning XOP, Old Particular and Provenance ranges
  • Single Grain Scotch Whisky – again, part of the XOP and Old Particular ranges, the bottlers promise some gems from now silent distilleries, including Dumbarton and Port Dundas
  • Blended Malt Scotch Whisky – the new-ish term for whiskies which would previously have been called vatted i.e. blends that don’t include grain whisky. These include Big Peat from Islay, Scallywag from Speyside, Timorous Beastie from the Highlands and Rock Oyster, which presents the best from the Islands
  • Blended Whisky – going right back to its blending roots, this includes The King of Scots and McGibbon’s Special Reserve Blends

So, there you have it – a brief overview of Douglas Laing.  Be sure to follow me on Twitter from 7pm this evening (Wednesday 16 March) when I’ll be sampling the Provenance range, with a full write-up to follow later this week.