Big Peat Christmas 2015

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Big Peat from Douglas Laing is a popular Blended Islay malt that is bottled at 46% ABV, without colouring or chill filtration.                                At Christmas they like to roll out the barrel a little and treat us to a cask strength edition of Big Peat Christmas, the 2015 version is the 5th release in the series and contains whisky from Ardbeg, Coal Ila, Bowmore and Port Ellen and bottled at 53.8% ABV and is limited to 3,000 cases and is available globally from specialist whisky stores and the Douglas Laing website here.big peat xmas

So now for the all important taste test, on the nose, first things first obviously there is peat, plenty of seaweed and sea spray, it’s almost coastal. There is also a freshness under the peat, limes, maybe some green herbs. With a little water there is more of an ashy note and ground white pepper.

The palate is vibrant, there are lemon sherbert’s, ash, vanilla sugar and brine with water there is almost a sweet chilli effect, the sweetness is more prominent but with a wave of spicy heat coming after.

On the finish it is slightly drying, it almost feels as if I’ve got some ash in my mouth and there is a lingering taste of salted lemons.

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#WemyssTT3

Last week saw the 3rd Wemyss Malts tweet tasting take place with Steve Rush from The Whisky Wire orchestrating the tasting on the night, we had 4 samples lined up to taste and with glasses at the ready we were ready to taste.

We started the evening with Lord Elcho, a blended scotch whisky at 40% ABV with a minimum 40% malt component. The nose gives buttery biscuits, lemon and spicy ginger, there is a little sweetness and as it opens there is a fruity note developing, green apples and slightly unripe honeydew melon. The Palate starts with an almost burnt toffee sweetness, raisins, a hint of mint, it’s creamy and smooth but with the spice and heat of fresh root ginger. The finish is quite short and slightly drying, which keeps making you go back for more. Lord Elcho is available here for £22 at time of posting.

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Next into the glass was one of Wemyss malts single cask offerings, Pastille Bouquet a 1998 Mortlach bottled at 46% in 2013 with 325 bottles released at. The nose has a honey sweetness, old-fashioned sweet shops, floral, honeysuckle? green fruits, hay, lemon thyme, a spiciness that prickles your nose. The palate is sweet, fresh, hot and sour, its like eating pink grapefruit with some of the pith on it still, pink lady apples, drizzled in heather honey, sprinkled with chilli flakes. This whisky really surprised me it starts sweet and finishes sweet and encompasses most other things in the middle and dazzled my taste buds. Pastille Bouquet available here for £58 at time of posting.

We then moved onto a single cask Glen Scotia 1991, bottled at 46% in 2013 yielding 807 bottles and titled Merchant’s Mahogany Chest. You get wood and beeswax polish on the nose, the smell of an old stately home, leather, fresh moist dark pipe tobacco, stewed prunes and muscovado sugar. Onto the palate, wood, spice (clove oil), pipe tobacco, sherry notes abound with glee, bitter chocolate, black cardamon and slightly tannic. The finish lingers with clove and star anise, a lovely sherry bomb. Merchant’s Mahogany Chest is available here for £90 at time of posting.

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The final whisky of the night was Peat Chimney 8yo, a blended malt bottled at 40%. Up to 16 different single malts are blended together before introducing the signature malts to create its distinct taste profile. The nose is a coastal breeze, briny, sweet and smokey, imagine a BBQ with apple wood chips smoking the meat and peat. The palate is sweet and delicate, ripe fruit notes, papaya, mango, peat building to dominate towards the finish, there’s a fresh green note, gooseberries maybe and a hint of pine resin. The finish is quite spicy and drying. Peat Chimney is available here for £28 at time of posting.

So 4 whiskies, 2 single cask malts and 2 great blends with the Mortlach finishing on the top step for me and the Peat Chimney not far behind in second.

Many thanks to Steve  “The Whisky Wire” for organising the tasting and Wemyss Malts for the samples, you can read all the other tweets by searching #WemyssTT3