Big Peat Small Batch Islay Blended Malt Scotch Whisky
Christmas Edition 2011
What the Blender Says
Big Peat is as grumpy as ever, regardless of his jovial Santa hat. Perhaps he didn’t like his signature yellow polo-neck being swapped for a red one? In 2011, Big Peat Christmas was bottled at 53.4% – natural cask strength – and his festive bottling has been bottled at cask strength ever since.
Nose: Opens a bit feistier, nose prickling and peppery at high strength plus the classic fresh, salty and clean Big Peat style. It then, as it warms, softens to malted barley dried over peat – with that same damp earthy character, anticipated from the “regular” bottling.
Palate: Considerably more mouthcoating at high strength, it still carries BP’s recognisable ashes, warm tar, sweet Japanese style seaweed, bandages, beaches and smoking chimneys.
Finish: Long and lingering, it replicates the palate with salty liquorice, smoke, damp bonfire ashes, chimney soot and more tarry, peaty and phenolic characteristics that just run and run. Full of what the French call “chauf couer” at high strength – detect even more of the damp ashes when cut with water.
What Gary Says
Nose: Sweet, bright, peat, medicinal, seaweed, earthy/ boggy, salty sea air, oily with a hint of smoked fish.
Palate: Peaty sweetness than POW – sharp peppery bite that blots out all but the peat.
Finish: Moderately long, peppery and drying .
Comments: I’m a fan of Islay whisky – Laphroaig being the first Scotch I really loved. The nose on this is amazing – almost everything I love about Islay whiskey (if it had a bit more smoke, might be perfect!), but the palate disappointed. After the initial peaty sweetness, the sharpness and pepper bite took over and really muted all but the peat. While not off putting, it was less satisfying than the nose by a fair amount.
Rating: Stands Out
What Richard Says
Nose: Big and briny. A peat campfire with slow roasted sausages on the spit.
Palate: At first is comes over as creamy and almost delicate caramel sweet. Then POW! Big notes of wood ash, peat smoke, and smoked fish.
Finish: Salty with light white pepper and kiln dried wood.
Comments: Oh you want peat? This brings the peat. This is a massive smokey whisky. Yet it still balances well. A great cold weather dram when sitting by the fire or enjoying a robust cigar.
Rating: Stands Out