Big Peat Christmas 2015


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.




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


A Foray into French Whisky

To celebrate the 3rd birthday of  Franck Debernardi organised the #FrenchWhiskyTT on twitter and I was lucky enough to be included in the people selected to take part.

We were supplied with 5 samples which were to be tasted blind and bearing in mind I had previously never tried French whisky before I had no preconceptions of what to expect so onto my thoughts of these whiskies.

Sample 1.  N. Sweet, brown sugar, toffee,cereals and ripe red fruits. P. Delicate and soft, sweet, fruity, hints of a ginger heat and spice which then leads into a floral note. F. Dry, short, slightly acidic almost fizzy on the tongue.

Sample 2.  N. A slight floral perfume, vanilla sugar, papaya and pineapple with a slight alcohol tingle. P. Tropical fruit, spicy, slightly astringent and woody.  F. Quite short, woody and dry.

Sample 3.  N. Creamy, tropical fruit again, chocolate, spicy, oaky and after a while slightly floral.  P.  Spicy, hot, sweet and syrupy, creamy with quite a rich mouthfeel, fruity, chocolate.  F. A slight peppery spice with lots of sweet ripe fruits.

Sample 4.  N. Acrid, burnt rubber, spicy, lots of alcohol, then with quite a bit of time in the glass menthol, california prunes, sweetness and herbal and new make spirit.  P. Cinnamon powder, sweet, sour, again that burnt rubber note.  F. Cloying sweet but at the same time bitter, very herbal, spicy and overpowering.

Sample 4.  With a healthy splash of water.  N. Chocolate, cream, spicy, vanilla, still quite a harsh alcohol burn and the rubber note has been dulled considerably.  P. Coffee, menthol, spicy, sweet at first but then sour and rubbery again.  F. The finish is very much as without water.

Sample 5.  N. Slightly cheesy, fruity, woody, a definite sulphur note and stewed plums.     P. Sweet and fruity but with the sulphur note still present, slightly minty, bitter orange and lime. F. Dry with the citrus notes to the fore.


The five samples were revealed as,

Sample #1 : G.Rozelieures Rare Collection 40% un-chilfiltered from La Maison de la Mirabelle

Matured in Sherry, Cognac & Sauternes Casks Limited edition

44,50 € from here :


Sample #2 : Armorik Double Maturation 46% un-chilfiltered from Distillerie Warenghem

Matured in Breton oak and finished in sherry casks

45 € from



Sample #3 : Armorik Millésime 2002 (2013 edition) single cask, Cask Strength 56,3%

Matured in Bourbon cask for 4y then in Oloroso cask for 7y 728 bottles

Last year’s edition is still available for 70,55 €here :

This year’s edition will be soon available for around 80 €


Sample #4 : [Secale] Single organic malted rye 56% from Domaine des Hautes Glaces

Matured 18 months in Condrieu (white wine from Vallée du Rhône) casks. Reduced to 56% before filling, then Cask Strength 511 bottles. Soon available.


Sample #5 : Uberach W.L.P 10th edition 2013 46,7% from Distillerie Bertrand

Distilled in 2003, matured in Banyuls casks. Since 2009 every year a single cask is bottled but 20 litres are kept in a “Dame Jeanne” big bottle. This W.L.P. is the blending of what was left of casks 101, 102, 103 & 104 respectively bottled in 2009, 2010, 2011 & 2012. Only 146 50cl bottles 60 € almost sold out (very hard to find). (but no whisky on their web site).

Overall the Armorik bottlings really impressed me and I will certainly be looking to find some more. A big thank you to Franck for organising this event, the samples and supplying the above information.