Traditionally, Douglas Laing release a new cask strength edition of their best-selling Big Peat brand every year in time for the festive season. Previously, the Christmas Edition 2016 surprised its fans by being the first (and for a long time most likely also the last) blended malt to include whiskies from all active Islay distilleries plus Port Ellen, which is currently prepared for reopening in 2020. As this year’s release is the seventh of its kind, a total of seven spirits from the Queen of the Hebrides got married in the recipe – with Ardbeg, Bowmore, Caol Ila and Port Ellen being mentioned explicitely alongside three mystery malts. Besides Peat’s signature smokiness, the most striking feature of this special edition is a distinct, pronounced saltiness. If you are either a smokehead or a fan of sea-shaped sips (or ideally an appreciator of both), you will certainly love this powerful offering from the tall and broad-shouldered Ileach with the wild beard and wind-ruffled hair!
Eye: Very light. In the glass, this high-strength Big Peat expression is almost translucent.
Nose: Obviously, the peat is strong in this one. It takes the form of cold cigar fume mixed with a somewhat phenolic reek. Amidst this peaty puff, there is citrus, butterscotch and an ounce of sea salt. Actually, more than just an ounce. This might easily be one of the most maritime and salty Big Peats I tried so far.
Palate: Apparently, our favorite Ileach has been lifting weights all year. And this clearly shows in the strong, sturdy and cast-iron stature of this malt. Its defining flavors include, among others, dark licorice, burnt sugar, salt crystals and a whole lotta smoke.
Finish: No wonder Peat’s beard is frozen on the label! Once you have sipped it, the in-your-face Christmas Edition 2017 stays long and leaves a lasting impression. Its immense peatiness is of phenolic, puffy and sooty character.
Type: Blended Malt Scotch Whisky
Region: Scotland (Islay)
Alc. volume: 54.1%
Bottle size: 0.7 litres
Price range: ~55.00 Euro
More info: http://www.douglaslaing.com/ (Bottler) ; http://www.bremerspirituosencontor.de/ (Importer)
*** Whisky sample kindly provided by Douglas Laing & Co. ***