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