What is the difference between American rock’n’roll legends KISS and Islay-born geezer Big Peat? There is more smoke in a bottle of the latter than there is in an entire stage show of the former. Also, the band went platinum on account of their record sales whereas the Ileach did so because of his age. The new Platinum Edition of Big Peat is a baffling 26 years old. It consists of malt whiskies that dribbled out of the still in 1992 – the same year in which KISS released their 16th studio album “Revenge”. As is common practice for a very old Islay whisky, the peat smoke no longer rages in the front row here. Instead, it enjoys the spectacle from a VIP seat on the gallery. But its possessive character is still omni-present, forming beautiful liaisions with the distillate’s fruity, woody and sweet notes. Complex and elevated, this ain’t Big Peat’s version of a three-chord garage punk song. It’s the bearded Ileach’s well-made attempt at an epic art rock anthem!
Eye: A sand beach on a overcast day.
Nose: When I uncorked the bottle, a cloud of peat unfolded. It dissolved quickly and left behind a rich, complex bouquet. In there, woody notes of fir needles and tree gum meet fruity whiffs of juicy tangerine and unripe mango. There’s also some olive oil and candle wax waiting for you… and something mineral. Of course, the peat is present, too. It’s not super-intense, but it’s there and it’s good!
Palate: Whereas the regular version of Big Peat is rather boisterous on the tongue, the 26-year-old Platinum Edition is a lot more settled and refined. In that regard, it follows a similar road as last year’s Gold Edition. The earthy peat is a bit stronger in the mouth than it was in the nose. It is accompanied by lemony and milky flavors as well as half-sweet shortcrust pastry. The malt’s maritime heritage makes itself known in the form of drift wood, sea spray and tarry ropes. Wahoo! That’s one deep, rich, adventurous Islay whisky!
Finish: I did not see this coming, but the whisky ends on a light note rather than a heavy one. Some of the relishes I found in the aftertaste placed me in a rain-soaked forest, while others took me to a small town’s harbor. Additionally, I made out heather, moss and unripe fruits. Plus a reasonable amount of cold ash and fuming tar. And a mouthwatering sweetness.
Type: Blended Malt Scotch Whisky
Region: Scotland (Islay)
Aged: 26 years
Alc. volume: 51.5%
Bottle size: 0.7 litres
# of bottles: 3,000
Price range: ~180 Euro
More info: http://www.douglaslaing.com/ (Bottler) ; http://www.bremerspirituosencontor.de/ (Importer)
*** Whisky sample and photos kindly provided by Douglas Laing & Co. ***