The latest edition of Scallywag’s The Chocolate Edition is here and we couldn’t resist having a wee dram.

Douglas Laing is regarded as one of the leading independent Scotch whisky bottlers. Its creations and curations compromise some of the most popular single malts, blends, and single cask releases around. People appreciate the lengths Douglas Laing takes to preserve the character of the whisky it presents, bottling at a high strength and with a lack of additives. No wonder the family-owned brand has won so many awards.

That doesn’t mean it can’t have a bit of fun though. Which is good, because whisky is fun. At its core, that’s what it’s all about. Having a drink with your mates is a good time. Tasting new flavours is exhilarating. Getting geeky about the production is rewarding. We’re whisky nerds because we love it.

Do you know what else is fun? Chocolate. So what better way to remind us to just enjoy our whisky than to open a bottle of the new edition of Scallywag’s The Chocolate Edition, which has just gone live on our site.

Scallywag The Chocolate Edition 2023

It’s here and it’s fun: Scallywag The Chocolate Edition 2023

Chocolate: not just a good whisky pairing

The Scallywag brand has always been a fun one. That’s mostly thanks to it sporting one of the best labels in whisky, complete with a dapper Fox Terrier wearing a monocle. You don’t even need to see it to enjoy that image. From Douglas Laing’s ‘Remarkable Regional Malts’ range, the first Scallywag whisky launched in 2013 and a decade on the core bottling remains a fine blend made of Speyside single cask single malts.

Five years ago, Douglas Laing realised that by selecting certain Pedro Ximénez and oloroso sherry casks and pairing them together, it could seriously ramp up the richer, more chocolatey elements of the blend and so The Chocolate Edition was born. Launched on World Chocolate Day (it’s Friday, 7 July, get it in your diary), the series has grown in popularity over the years, going from a 300-bottle first run in 2018 to 4,200 bottles in this year’s edition, its sixth annual release. 

Scott Morrison, Douglas Laing’s brand manager, says the brand has a lot of fun striving for chocolate perfection, and you can tell. Like every year, the Chocolate Edition is bottled at a high alcohol strength (48% ABV) without colouring or chill-filtration. Unique to the 2023 release is a hand-drawn illustration from Douglas Laing’s head of creative, Claire Coetzee. But never mind all that, what you really want to know is how it tastes, and especially if you’ve never tried this whisky before, does it taste really of chocolate? Well, I’m glad you asked…

Scallywag The Chocolate Edition 2023 tasting note:

Nose: It really is very chocolatey, like a posh truffle with some hot chocolate powder for good measure. Cinnamon buns, salted caramel sauce, syrupy black fruits, and a little red chilli earthiness. 

Palate: Viscous without being cloying or too sweet, the palate opens with a big dusting of cacao powder and a nuttiness that reminds me of Nutella. Then there’s orange oil, burnt brown sugar, prune, raspberry, and vanilla.

Finish: Baking spices, creamy nuttiness, toasted oak, and a final touch of chocolate ice cream with a pinch of sea salt. 

Overall: Scallywag The Chocolate Edition 2023 is more rich than sweet, but there’s no mistaking there’s lots of chocolate in this. It’s not one-dimensional, though, there’s dark fruit, a creamy nuttiness, aromatic baking spices, and a little earthy heat that adds a very nice depth. This is an enjoyable concept and that joy is matched by the whisky in the glass. I would highly recommend selecting several nice chocolate bars from the supermarket, getting a bottle of this, and hosting a super little pairing party. Doesn’t that sound like fun?