Big Peat - The Gold Edition - 25 years old

Big Peat - The Gold Edition - 25 yr old

Independent Bottler: Douglas Laing

Year of Distillation: 1992

Age: 25yr old

ABV 52.1% 

Bottle size: 70cl

Price: £165

Nose 21/25 - salty sea breeze, seaweed filled rock pools, freshly roasted hog.

Taste 22/25 - very sweet, almost toffee apple and then a sweaty saltiness.  A drying spice a bit like cracked black pepper.

Finish 22/25 - a deep mellow gingerbread, coupled with some all spice and woodiness.

Balance 23/25 - if you want a high quality well aged vatted malt from Islay then look no further.

Total 88/100

The regular releases of Big Peat and his Christmas variant are always very reliable and accessible.  This takes it to a different level and bodes well for the two releases still to come in this series.

Rock Oyster Cask Strength

Rock Oyster Cask Strength

  • Independent Bottler: Douglas Laing
  • Age: No age statement 
  • ABV 57.4%
  • Bottle size: 70 cl
  • Price: £ 50
  • Nose 21/25 - more BBQ pork and fire embers, hints of charcoal 
  • Taste 23/25 - sweet just like the original but much more spicy, lots of pepper and even touch of chilli and perhaps even salted caramel 
  • Finish 22/25 - raising the ABV by more than 10% has a real impact here moving it longer and deeper, not quite "Big Peat" but heading in that direction.
  • Balance 23 /25 - I liked the original but I like this even more, it's deeper darker and much more complex
  • Total 89/100

Rock Oyster Cask Strength; is the recently launched turbo charged version of last years Rock Oyster. It contains whisky distilled on Islay, Arran, Orkney and Jura, and it has all the coastal qualities from the original Rock Oyster but turned up to 11.

Rock Oyster

Rock Oyster

  • Independent Bottler: Douglas Laing
  • Age: No age statement 
  • ABV 46.8%
  • Bottle size: 70 cl
  • Price: £40
  • Nose 20/25 - whispy mild smoke not a raging campfire
  • Taste 23/25 - sweet, salty brine with a citrus twang and a twist of pepper
  • Finish 20/25 - given what is a fairly generous ABV its a mid length finish, you'd want to drink it later in the evening.
  • Balance 22/25 - I lift my hat to Douglas Laing once again Fred, Cara and Jan know how to construct a great Vatted Malt
  • Total 85 /100

Douglas Laing's Rock Oyster is a small batch bottling created using malts including those distilled on the Islands of Jura, Islay, Arran and Orkney.  It's bottled at 46.8% ABV without colouring or chill-filtration.

Bowmore Small Batch

  • Age: No age statement
  • ABV 40 % 
  • Bottle size: 70 cl
  • Price: £37
  • Nose 21 /25 - Initially engine oil then clifftop seaweed, rock pools and a hint of vanilla
  • Taste 20 /25 - Spicy cinnamon and a fair amount of peat, lots of warmth from cloves and black pepper followed by a fair bit of sherbet.
  • Finish 21 /25 -  bitter, salty with some chocolate lime.
  • Balance 22 /25 - very nicely constructed, short to medium but rather enjoyable.
  • Total 84 /100

Bowmore Small Batch is a very accessible Islay single malt, it’s matured in both first-fill and second-fill bourbon barrels. A great introduction to Bowmore's lovely smoky flavour profile - the Small Batch it’s light and well balanced with plenty of honey, coconut and vanilla notes.

Connemara Original

  • Age: No age statement 
  • ABV 40 % 
  • Bottle size: 70 cl
  • Price: £34
  • Nose 18/25 - apples, Edinburgh Rock and banana chips.
  • Taste 17/25 - not all that complex, there’s peat but not much sophistication, pretty dull really.
  • Finish 20 /25 - it hangs around in the mouth for a while but doesn’t really improve or become much more interesting,
  • Balance 16 /25 - frankly no it really isn’t balanced.  It’s quite confused and not really clear what it’s attempting to achieve.
  • Total 71 /100

A double distilled Irish whisky (not the normal triple distilled so common in Ireland) along with peat should be a curiosity, a challenge and interesting but I came away somewhat disappointed.

The Ardmore Legacy

  • Age: No age statement
  • ABV 40% 
  • Bottle size: 70 cl
  • Price: £30
  • Nose 20 /25 - Vanilla, honey and a hint of marshmallow.  Gentle toffee apple and very light smokey notes.
  • Taste 19 /25 - Pear and citrus and possibly a hint of custard cream
  • Finish 18 /25 - it’s lightly smokey and extremely short but and frankly it seems a little on the young side.
  • Balance 21 /25 - you’ll not scare anyone off peat with this dram but really I doubt you’d really convince anyone that it makes a big difference.
  • Total 78 /100

Emerging from the village of Kennethmont in Aberdeenshire the Ardmore Legacy is bottled at 40% and is chill filtered. It’s made up of with 80% peated and 20% unpeated malt.  It’s a pleasant dram, light and easy to drink. I’d say it’s fairly unremarkable but inoffensive.

Laphroaig Select

  • Age: No age statement 
  • ABV 40 % 
  • Bottle size: 70 cl
  • Price: £34
  • Nose 22 /25 - well peat that goes without saying but in a fairly gentle way, burnt toast a hint of marmalade, sea salt,  charcoal and salted beef.
  • Taste 21 /25 - cigar ash, grapefruit mint, green apple and damp hay.
  • Finish 22 /25 - of medium length, the peat rumbles away.
  • Balance 22 /25 - overall it’s nicely balanced.  it’s clearly aimed and Laphroaig newbies as it’s far more accessible than the mega TCP releases.  It won’t necessarily suit the Laphroaig Loons but I rather enjoyed it.
  • Total 87 /100

Select takes it name from the wide variety of casks selected a mix of European cask Oloroso sherry butts, straight American white oak (non-filled with bourbon), PX seasoned hogsheads, Quarter Casks and finally first fill Bourbon Casks