Douglas Laing is a long established independent bottler. Given their deep stocks from distilleries all over Scotland, they also produce their own blends and blended malts. The Double Barrel series combines malts from two different distilleries that presumably have complementary character.
This whisky was bottled at 46% without coloring or chill filtration.
Thanks to Lydia for the sample.
Double Barrel Highland Park/Bowmore
Nose: fresh dry peat smoke, earthy, raw onion without the sulfur, green malt, lemon furniture polish. After adding a few drops of water the peat fades to reveal more fresh malt and a little pine comes out, but it remains rather simple.
Taste: malt sweetness throughout, very green but not overly new make-y, acidic peat smoke enters quickly with prickles of oak tannins, a little heather underneath. After dilution the malt dominates and the bitter/acidic notes of peat and oak smooth out, but the heather is lost until the finish.
Finish: distinctly bitter - sharp peat smoke and oak, background malt
Despite the conceit that this is a blended malt combining the character of two different distilleries, most of what I get from this is the Bowmore. It doesn't seem fundamentally different from Bowmore's own NAS releases such as Legend or Small Batch, but slightly amplified at 46%. I get a little Highland Park heather on the palate, but it would be easy to miss if you're not paying attention. Overall I would give this one a miss as it doesn't seem to be significantly better than other NAS malts that can be had for less money.
7 hours ago