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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#WhiskyWeekender Tweet Tasting

Last Thursday I was among a group of people who took part in a tweet tasting, conducted as always by Steve Rush from The Whisky Wire but with a slight change because rather than being from one distillery or independent bottler it was to help showcase some of the offerings which will be available during the London Whisky Weekender on the 16,17 7 & 18th of May at The Oval Space, Hackney, full details HERE.

The tasting was to be conducted blind, leaving us to look daft as we guessed wildly what each dram possibly was, so onto the tasting notes.

whisky weekender So starting with dram 1, a nice light golden colour and once poured the nose was light and approachable with lots of ripe fruits, slightly tropical, papaya and lime, the sweetness of a spiced mead and as it opened more citrus notes developed along with a creaminess. Onto the palate, sweet but with a slight savoury edge (like a salted caramel), a hit of chilli heat but there is fruit in the form of apple and pears. The finish is quite lingering slightly tannic, cinnamon and apples prevail. Dram 1 was revealed as Berry Bros & Rudd 1992 Longmorn (46% ABV) Speyside Single Malt. longmorn

The colour of dram 2 in the bottle screams heavily sherried whisky, into the glass it goes and the nose gives floral notes, pine needles, aniseed, stewed plums, it’s sweet and fruity and the more I nose it I start to think it’s maybe matured in a rum cask. Onto the palate and there is a slight fizz on the tongue, sweet, cola bottles, woody and slightly reminiscent of hints of a sipping rum like Diplomatica Reserva. The finish is spicy and has hints of aniseed and oak. Dram 2 was revealed as Tiffon Chateau de Triac (40% ABV) Cognac, a curveball.tiffon

Onto dram 3 and immediately on opening there’s no mistaking the peat. The nose gives peat, pepper, savoury and on the night I couldn’t shake of a hint of Campbell’s cream of tomato soup, in the background there is some vanilla sweetness. The palate is lovely the peat is much less pronounced than the nose would suggest, it’s vanilla sweet and  slightly spicy as it develops on the tongue, with plenty of fruit in there. The finish is slightly spicy with sweet peat and nice and long. Dram 3 was revealed as anCnoc Rutter (46% ABV) Highland Single Malt.ancnoc

Onto dram 4, less pronounced peat on the nose, malty, oily, coastal, subtle peat and smoke, the remnants of a driftwood bonfire on the beach and lemon note which cuts through it all. Onto the palate a kick of alcohol, definitely cask strength, more smoke and peat than was promised by the nose, again there’s the citrus note of lemon, it’s also sweet and hot (a chilli crunchie note as one taster noted). The finish is long and smoky still with the lingering heat. Dram 4 was revealed as an SMWS Bottling, 53.197 ‘A stoker in drag’ (57.4% ABV) Islay Single Malt (Caol Ila).caol

All in all a great line up with the anCnoc Rutter being my favourite whisky of the night but I was also really impressed by the Cognac. As always there was great company on the night and if you want to see others views just search for #WhiskyWeekender on twitter.

Thanks once again to The Whisky Lounge for the samples and The Whisky Wire for his hosting on the night.