Kill Devil is the rum line of Hunter Laing, a renowned independent bottler of Scotch Whisky. Hunter Laing’s history dates back to 1949, when Stewart Laing’s father Frederick founded his whisky blending company in Glasgow. Fifteen years later, Stewart joins the family business and starts to develop the now famous brand. With the increasing sales volume of whisky globally, especially in the 1990s, the company starts to develop several exclusive bottling lines, which culminated in the founding of Hunter Laing & Co. Ltd in Glasgow in 2013, just one year shy of Stewart Laing’s 50th anniversary in the Scotch whisky industry. In 201, they acquired a new maturation warehouse in which they can hold 14,000 casks. The idea was to decrease the time it takes to take a cask sample as much as possible. With the necessary infrastructure established, they finally decided to launch their rum line, Kill Devil. Under this label they have been releasing single cask rums at either 46% (mostly) or cask strength for about three years now. Both, the quality of their releases and the success in sales volume have been so-so, which even resulted in the company consulting the rum nerds on Facebook for feedback. For me, it is mostly the dilution together with the asking prices but problematic retail channels and a lack of knowledge (on their homepage they state that natural cask strength and navy strength are synonymous) probably factor in as well. While this, among others, is symptomatic for an entrant in a new industry, it also demonstrates that they are eager to learn and that they really want to establish themselves as one of the major players in the rum scene. Competition never hurts my friends and that’s why I hope that Hunter Laing/ Kill Devil will stick around for some more time!
One interesting key-note we’ve missed from the company’s biography is the construction of the Ardnahoe Distillery on Islay, which began in 2017. The first batches have already been distilled and were also offered for sale to other independent bottlers: the prices were as high as they have ever been for new make spirit. Whether this is simply Islay hype or rooted in a deeper believe/ knowledge is beyond me but either way, Hunter Laing are apparently doing it the right way.
Tasted rums by Kill Devil:
- Kill Devil Diamond Distillery (Port Mourant) 8YO (2008-2016), 59,3%
- Kill Devil Diamond Distillery (Versailles) 12YO (2004-2016), 61,1%
- Kill Devil Uitvlugt (Port Mourant) 16YO (1999-2016), 51,9%
- Kill Devil Hampden 16YO (1998-2015), 46%
- Kill Devil Hampden 24YO (1992-2016), 62%
- Kill Devil Hampden 10YO (2007-2017), 64,1%
- Kill Devil Hampden 10YO (2007-2018), 62,5%
- Kill Devil Hampden 16YO (2001-2018), 61,2%
- Kill Devil Monymusk 12YO (2003-2016), 46%