I’m a big fan of Big Peat. See my previous flight of Big Peat’s a while back. I was of course very pleased to be chosen for this, and Douglas Laing really pushed the boat out with the kit and a blind tasting of a number of special Islay specials, some of which really foxed us, particularly that Laphroaig and the posh Ardbeg.
All tasting notes were as tasted blind. We were told the whiskies after.
Nose - Orchard fruit - sour apples, some cereal, some white wine vinegar. A little crayon, some hotdog and sauerkraut. Quite light and sour but with some toasty maturity behind it. Lightly ashen with a deep sweetness behind it.
Body - Very light, clear, citrus - very nice.
Finish - Short, a little ash, but gently balanced. Smoked cloves at the back.
#2 Laphroaig 8 Year Old 2005 (cask 10294) - Provenance (Douglas Laing) A+
Nose - Pear drops, dusty bookcases, blackcurrant travel sweets, a touch of cigarette tobacco. There’s a floral, mineral edge to it and a fresh leather belt, but deeply, deeply sweet with the boiled sweets, blackcurrant and sugar dusting.
Body - Clear, bright wood - pine? More leather and cigarettes. So there was peat in here. The boiled sweets continue with black pepper and artificial blackcurrant flavour and a rather dark and tasty peat backing.
Finish - Short, ashen but with a long, numbing tail. Balanced but a little uneventful, cloves and dusty and then a big bang of retronasal barley sugar. Very moreish, quite refreshing but lots of interesting flavours and all that blackcurrant is a first on me!
#3 Bowmore 12 Year Old 2001 (cask 10284) - Old Particular A+
Nose - Deep peaty sweet and savoury beauty - banana, chocolate biscuits, bandages, toffee, and a bit of cross channel ferry. A little clean/new bicycle tire with sulphurous edges, deeply sweet. There’s some sort of market pen, inner tube, Asian fruit thing here too. Lots of primary school smells with water.
Body - Light, smooth, easily peated, very balanced with deep sweetness and chocolate tones. Really smooth and delicious. A drop of water brings out that Asian fruit a little.
Finish - Long, ashen at the back of the throat, but ends quite abruptly. A sweet cloying edge just hangs on at the back.
#4 Big Peat, Blended Islay Malt, A+
Nose - Bright ash, candlewax, ice cream soda, dark musk, some beeswax and grilled oranges. Great complexity, balance and interest on the nose. Seriously delicious. With some time, some of the boiled sweets start to come to the fore, with deep candied sweetness.
Body - Bright, balanced, sweet and ashen. Great breadth. Great retronasal wax and tropical tones, and a little red chilli and pepper.
Finish - A light edge of blackcurrant again (maybe it’s just my palate today?). Quite long, balanced and unfaltering. Rather good.
#5 Ardbeg 23 year old Director’s Cut, 53.1% A⊕+
Nose - Deep, candied, bourbon fruit bomb. Bubble gum, orange boiled sweets, cigarette tobacco (if pushed, Marlboro lights). An edge of roast lamb and rosemary. Very old and sexy, lewd in fact. Dirty even? Love it.
Body - Peanuts, toffee, caramel, candle wax and floor polish, dark old wood, leather, smoke, oak, beautiful balance and integration.
Finish - Very long, deeply sweet and balanced with long, rich, leather and cigar tobacco tones.
Easily the best of the night, not out yet but I really fear for the price. Ah well, better to have loved and lost…