From a blended whisky review to my first blended malt review. For it I chose Big Peat, by Douglas Laing, a blended malt from Islay. It comprises only malt whisky from the island of Islay and it is made up of whisky from Coal Ila, Bowmore, Ardbeg and Port Ellen (which closed in 1983!).
Region: Islay, Scotland
Style: Blended Malt
A blended malt is a combination of single malt whiskies from different distilleries. It differs from a standard blended whisky in that the blending components must be made exclusively from malted barley (in other words a single malt) and does not contain any grain. It was previously known as a “vatted malt” whisky.
As one can deduce from the name of the whisky, and not to mention from the distilleries that contribute to the blend, this is a peated whisky. According to the Whisky Science blog peat is a spongy material formed by the partial decomposition of organic matter (vegetation) in wetlands. The smoky flavour of a peat reek is supposedly coming from simple phenols, its alcohol-derivatives and creosols. The smoky flavour that some of us so enjoy in our whisky comes from the drying of the malted barley by a peat fire. Big Peat has a PPM of around 40.
Colour: Pale gold to straw with many long medium legs.
Nose: Starts off with a refreshing seaside saltiness and that wonderful peaty smoke. Lovely woody spices follow with a slight hint of medicinal character and an almost sweetness of pecan nut slice. Gorgeous and complex.
Palate: Burnt wood logs and smokiness is what I get on the first sip. This is quickly followed by a tongue tingling spiciness (cinnamon) across the whole mouth. It has a grassiness to it as well as some nuttiness. Palate is round and full with great complexity.
Finish: Long, warm and lingering with lovely enduring spiciness (especially on the tip of tongue) and more of that magnificent peaty smokiness.
Overall: If you are a fan of smoky or Islay whiskies, this one is for you. Not only is it seriously delicious, with a smooth smokiness that makes it very easy to drink, but it is a very affordable dram (especially considering there is Port Ellen whisky in the blend).
My Score: 87