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It’s cold outside, there’s snow on the ground (maybe), the family are round and it’s a time of feasting, celebration and of course, drinking. I make no attempt to hide my love for this time of year so I apologise if any readers don’t celebrate the occasion. I’m not at all religious, but I enjoy the opportunity to spend time with family and friends and share a dram or two. I actually think that Christmas has somewhat outgrown its religious connection anyway, but that’s a conversation for elsewhere.
Big Peat is a blended malt and the Islay representative in Douglas Laing’s Remarkable Regional Malts series. The blend features whisky from Ardbeg, Bowmore, Caol Ila and surprisingly, lost distillery Port Ellen. Each year a special release, cask strength Christmas edition hits the shelves and frankly, it was just too tempting to review it this week.
Now, I’m cheating a little because I’m going to review last years edition, but rest assured there is a new expression on the market this year that is every bit as good… As are the rest of the Remarkable Regional Malts range in fact… Along with Big Peat there’s Timorous Beastie from the Highlands, Scallywag from Speyside, Rock Oyster from the islands and the latest addition from the lowlands, The Epicurean. They are extremely well put together: wonderfully packaged and bottled at natural colour with no chill filtering. Each expression provides a little snapshot of the traditional style of their region and for me, they offer some of the best value for money on the market today.
Smell: Everything you would expect, given the name. Smoke, Ash, Coal and Charcoal all leap out but given time, Melon, Vanilla, Cream, Biscuit and even Sweetcorn come through.
Taste: Waves of Peat Smoke wash over the palate with lots of Pepper, Barley, Cream and Honey. Not for the faint hearted.
Thoughts: A cask strength whisky with this much flavour for under £50 is a bargain. It’s a cracking blended malt, assuming you like ’em smoky and it’s made from some of the most characterful malts on the planet. A great buy at this, or any other time of year.
As always, thank you for taking the time to read my review, I hope you enjoyed it and will come back again. Next time I’ll be selecting something a bit special as my New Year Dram…
Until then, please allow me to wish you and yours all the very best!
Neill @ whiskyreviews.net