Review: Compass Box - The Peat Monster

Compass Box – The Peat Monster

It’s Compass Box time! Like most Compass Box whiskies, The Peat Monster is a blended malt with no age statement, but salvaged (intellectually and from a marketing perspective) by lack of chill filtration or colourant and some welcome transparency. While the lack of an age statement may threaten to put off the die-hard Laphroaig 10’ers, the Caol Ila 12’ers or the Lagavulin 16’ers, have no fear – this blend isn’t messing around. Containing heavily peated whisky from Laphroaig, Ledaig, Caol Ila and Ardmore, with just the barest touch (1%) of unpeated whisky from less manly distilleries, it’s guaranteed to tickle the tastebuds of most peat-addled malt lovers. Let’s take the plunge:

  • Colour:

The lightest Scotch whisky I’ve ever seen. Pale, pale straw. It tricks you into thinking “light” or “easy” – you fool!

  • Nose:

The Kraken rises! The Peat Monster is clearly a creature of the sea. Maritime – soft and salty. Intense alcohol at 46%, and of course… plenty of peat. Like a wood fire. Grassy and oaky. Copper. And the faintest whiff of apples and pears in the back.

  • Taste:

In a nutshell: Sweet, peat, salt, meat. First, a sweet, fruity fusion of malt and oak. Second, a name well deserved – piles of peat here. Smoky and grassy. My immediate comparison is to Laphroaig (of which this apparently contains about 40%), but to my tastes far more interesting and layered. Next – sea water, seaweed; a lovely chewy, Talisker-style saltiness. Lastly a metallic, smoked meat taste – bacon or barbeque. A brilliantly balanced blend. Simple overall, but plenty of secrets if you’re willing to explore the depths!

  • Water:

From the water, and unto the water. As you might imagine, the Peat Monster holds water like a boss. Just a few drops smoothes over some of those harsh edges and uncovers that buried citrus beneath the waves. Delicious.

Review: Compass Box - The Peat Monster

Review: Compass Box - The Peat Monster


The Peat Monster is one of my favourite peat monsters. I enjoy it about as much as Ardbeg, and while it’s a tad pricey I might even prefer it if I was looking for something with a little more umami chewiness (or a cooler label). But not quite as droolworthy as Lagavulin or Talisker.

Nevertheless this is a great whisky that combines the best of a whole lot of core flavours, and recommended for anyone who has a fairly solid appreciation for what blended malts can offer. Can’t wait to try that cask strength magnum-sized bottle!

Compass Box – The Peat Monster
Quality: Great
Price: Reasonable
See my rating guide here

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