Ah Big Peat. A gimmicky marketing success story. This is a blended malt, that is a whisky made up of various single malts, by independent bottler Douglas Laing. It’s made up of malts from Ardbeg, Caol Ila, Bowmore and the now closed and extremely rare Port Ellen (although the amount of Port Ellen in here is probably quite small).
Douglas Laing are not the first ones to step away from tradition and make a more lighthearted whisky brand, but they’re the first ones to market it as a serious part of their range and put serious whisky into the bottle (a lot of gimmicky brands are meant to be collected and not drunk and the whisky in the bottles suits that purpose).
Because of the drinkability of the whisky and the very endearing labelling Big Peat has actually spawned a whole series of regional blended malts such as Scallywag for Speyside and Timorous Beastie for the Highlands, as well as an annual cask strength Christmas edition.
Aged 3 years*. 46%ABV. No colourant added and non-chill filtered.
*for lack of age statement
Nose: Mineral peat. Hay. Salty wood. Lemon dish soap. Porridge with honey. Some floral notes. Bit of a fruit in custard note after some glass time.
Palate: Thick mouthfeel, but not much action until the swallow (that could be taken out of context all too easily). Grassy peat. Rubber. Iodine. Salt. Then a big note of lemon zest and white pepper.
Finish: Long. White pepper. Lemon zest. Salty peat. Bit of a lingering bitter wood note.
Would I buy this: Yes
Would I order this in a bar: Yes
Would I drink this if someone gave me a glass: Yes
There are a lot of blended Islay malts popping up but this one has been around for a while and has endured, and I can see why. You can tell it’s mostly young malts but not too young, the peat notes are quite sweet and sprightly, with a few hints of complexity to it, and the final product is ‘big’ yet gentle.