Yula, a Norse Goddess (according to Douglas Laing), was the character that sprang to life a trilogy of aged blended malt whiskies releases over the span of 3 years. This is what we’re told on Yula:
Ancient Islay legend has it that a beautiful Norse goddess – Yula – embarked on a long
journey searching for her long lost love with an apron full of pebbles. The stones fell out as
she travelled, forming a string of islands and leaving behind a trail of her thankless pursuit.
Tragic Yula never did find her love, but perished in the turbulent seas surrounding Islay
which was the last jewel-shaped stone to fall from her apron. It’s here on Islay, which in old
Norse means “Yula’s Isle”, that Douglas Laing’s heroine is buried, her final resting place
marked by two standing stones that can still be seen to this day.
The first edition, Yula 20 Years Old was launched back in October 2015. The second chapter, Yula 21 Years Old was launched in September 2016 and the latest and last chapter, Yula 22 Years Old was released last September and now it’s the time to review them all.
Each edition has 900 bottles, wasn’t chill filtered nor colored and bottled at natural cask strength that went down a bit during the last two years from 52.6% for the first chapter to 51.2% of the third and last chapter.
Douglas Laing Yula 20 Year Old (Chapter 1) (52.6%)
Nose: Gentle sweet smoke, lemony spiciness, peaches and apricots, dusty & mineraly, weak smoldering coals smoke, pastry dough.
Palate: Mineral, peat, sweet fruit followed by sweet peat smoke, a dash of spice, honey, tropical fruit, pineapple, papaya and mandarins.
Finish: medium length, semi dry with lingering fruit sweetness (led by peaches), mineraly and a touch of smoke.
Nose: hard peatiness at first but it goes away after it breathes out for a minute or two replaced by gentle smokiness, sweet fresh red berries, pudding with vanilla, slick, sour sweet berries, stronger vanilla almost lactic (Jura influence?).
Palate: Peat, smoke and coals, surprisingly quite strong and not hinted on the nose and then replaced by quite sweet red fruit and berries before getting smoky again.
Finish: Medium length, a bit lactic, malt vanilla, lingering peat smoke with a touch of red fruit.
Nose: At first it reminds me of the rock oyster 18 I drank not so long ago (Doh!), honey, farmy, bonfire and charcoal smoke, wood smoke, vanilla, smoke becomes sweet, gently cold smoked dried fruit, salt and first rain of season.
Palate: Tough dram at first, peat smoke, gentle slightly farmy, sweet dried fruit with tropical fruit edge, honey, sour fruit, wet ashes and soot, salt sprinkle.
Finish: Medium length, lingering sour sweet fruit with whispers of tropical fruit, subtle peat and ashes.
Thoughts: A very good series. Although there are stark similarities to Douglas Laing Islands blended malt Rock Oyster, it took a bit different approach with a peatier flavor profile. The series started with a bang and a great chapter one release. The second release was a tad tougher and harsher with too strong peat and mineralty notes but then the last chapter rose up to close the trilogy with a complex and good whisky.