Peated Malts of Distinction – A Recap

A couple of weeks ago I was invited to take part in yet another fantastic Twitter Tasting organised by Steve from The Whisky Wire.

The 4 whiskies we look at on the night were:

Ardmore Legacy

Bowmore Small Batch

Laphroaig Select

Connemara Peated

The Ardmore Legacy, OB, 40% abv (available here)

  
On the nose we have sweet smoke, popcorn, Battenberg cake, honey and allspice.

The palate initially starts with brine but fades quickly to a pleasant dryness with elements of citrus pepper and beach bonfire alongside an ever present hint of green apples.

The finish is influenced by the smoke and brine. It does feel like a younger whisky but is very nicely balanced.

Bowmore Small Batch, Bourbon Cask, OB, 40% abv (available here)

  

This is perhaps the lightest Bowmore I have tried. The nose has brine, peat, light smoke, honey and lemon. The palate is quite subdued and smooth with hints of coconut and vanilla but seems a touch minerally, perhaps chalky (sea shells?) White ash and honey with some faint fruitiness and lingering smoke make for a smooth finish. Not an Islay powerhouse but more refreshing and smooth.

Connemara Original, OB, 40% abv (available here)

  

Like the Bowmore this seems a little subdued. I’ve never tried a Connemara before so I have little to compare it to. The nose is light with the faintest wisps of peat and smoke. Quite floral and honeyed with some banana and pear influence. The palate is smooth but feels a little dilute and the peat seems a little damp, however it is much more prevalent here than on the nose. A short but savoury finish introduces a brine note right at the end.

Laphroaig Select, OB, 40% abv (available here)

  

My favourite Laphroaig expression may just be the Quarter Cask. It just seems to have a great depth of flavour and it just happens to be great value for money (a rarity in the whisky world these days) Lets see what the Select has in store…

On the nose it is the most phenolic so far. Much bigger and medicinal then the others. There is a hint of damp, smouldering leaves, the bitterness of dark chocolate and a surprisingly bright citrus element.

The palate is initially peaty but fades out quite quickly to leave mint leaves, earthy tang, spices and mushroom notes.

The finish is peated and phenolic to the end but not overpoweringly so. It leaves a very sweet taste in the mouth along with fresh spices and a honey ham aftertaste.

 

There were certainly no ‘Peat Monsters’ here but there were still some interesting flavours and elements. A good selection to introduce someone to Islay style whiskies or if you fancy a smooth, yet peated dram, but if you are looking for power and punch and you like a whisky that’s like being slapped in the face by a pound of peat then you may need to look elsewhere.

 

 

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