Caskaway: Cara Laing's desert island drams

Caskaway: Cara Laing's desert island drams

We send Cara Laing, managing director of Scotch whisky company Douglas Laing & Co, off to our desert island and ask which five drams are coming with her

Caskaway | 03 May 2024 | Issue 199 | By Lucy Schofield

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Although Cara Laing has whisky in her blood, it took a while for her to come around to it. After studying marketing at university, she worked first for an advertising agency before taking up a position at Scotch whisky company Whyte & Mackay.


Having joined the business hoping to work on a vodka account, she says she was “most aggrieved” to find herself assigned to whisky. It took working with Jura and visiting the distillery to transform her relationship with the spirit and spark her passion. Ironically, it was only when Whyte & Mackay did put her on a vodka account that she decided to leave.


Her next move was to Morrison Bowmore Distillers, looking after the Bowmore and Glen Garioch brands. Then, in 2013, her father asked her to join Douglas Laing & Co. Although she had never planned on joining the family business, it felt like the right time and opportunity for her next challenge.


In January 2024, Cara took over the position of managing director, becoming the third generation of Laings to lead the business since it was founded by her grandfather, Fred Douglas Laing, in 1948. In April 2024, Douglas Laing & Co-owned distillery Strathearn released its first single malt expression since the Highland producer was acquired by the company in 2019.


Whisky #1


Single Malt

This is [a] great spirit and we have had a lot of fun creating this inaugural batch… It has been a really exciting one for us to create and ironically, although it is a single malt, a huge amount of time has gone into the blending. Single malt has not really been our bag — Douglas Laing is very focused on blended malt and single casks — so I found the whole process of creating our first batch of Strathearn really interesting, and a real learning curve in terms of the art of blending.


Whisky #2


12 Years Old

For sentimental reasons I would probably take a Bowmore single malt with me, just as a bit of reminder of my time working on that wonderful brand. Bowmore 12 Years Old was always a favourite and takes me back to sampling whisky straight from the cask in the Bowmore No 1 Vaults.


Whisky #3


Bodega Sherry Cask Special Edition

I was fortunate enough to try this one at Whisky Live Paris last year and it was excellent.


Whisky #4



I am a bit of a fan of A’bunadh. It has always been a rich, robust, solid dram that I’ve enjoyed since around 2010.


Whisky #5

Glen Garioch

Founder’s Reserve

It is a phenomenal whisky, so I’ll throw Glen Garioch in the mix as well. The Founder’s Reserve is a favourite of mine. It takes me back to distillery visits in Old Meldrum and I love the big, malty, home-baking style of Glen Garioch.


Luxury item


I would probably say a hammock. I’m a bit of a sun worshipper, unfortunately, so I figured a hammock would allow me to sunbathe through the day and sleep at night… I was struggling to think of something while hoping I’m never stranded on a desert island!

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