Big Peat has been around for a while now in various different expressions. I first came across it at The Whisky Stramash several years ago and have been a fan ever since.
It is one of the expressions from independant bottler Douglas Laings ‘Remarkable Regional Malts’ series, the other expressions being Timorous Beastie, Rock Oyster, Scallywag and The Epicurean.
This particular release is set to be the first of three ‘old and rare’ Big Peats being launched over the next three years.
Perhaps we can look forward to a Platinum Edition 30 year old next year…
I am guessing this perhaps contains a percentage of 25 year old Port Ellen if it is keeping with previous recipes. (Ardbeg, Bowmore, Caol Ila and Port Ellen)
The Gold Edition is 25 years old and is in fact the first Big Peat expression to carry an age statement. As ever it is bottled at cask strength (52.1%) and hasn’t been tampered with by the addition of colouring or being chill-filtrated.
Big Peat Gold Edition, 25yo, IB (Douglas Laing), 52.1%abv, press sample (available here)
The nose has gentle touches of sea air and wisps of faint peat smoke. There are touches of subtle and restrained phenols, which give it that ‘Germolene’ element. After the coastal and peat notes fade we are left with some damp hay and wet pencils.
The palate starts with a burst of minerality and a good whack of sweetcure bacon and baked, glazed hams. Some tangy brine and some faint vanilla aren’t far behind with a slight sootiness and some oak influence making its mark.
The finish is very soft and restrained. It is not so much a finish as just a fading of the palate. The touches of minerality are still here, intermingled between some sea spray and the first appearance of some Sicilian lemons. There is a pleasant drying oak right at the end.
I never actually got round to adding water to it. To be honest I was enjoying as it was, so why spoil it?
At no point does it feel unbalanced or out of control, perfectly restrained but with character shining through.
Its probably far too early to suggest it is a candidate for ‘Blend Of The Year’ but I’m going to suggest that at the turn of 2018 its going to be right up there.
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