Big Peat Christmas Edition 2016

Review 2017-075 «Specifics»  Blended malt • 54.6% Alcohol • Matured for undisclosed number of years in an undisclosed selection of casks • Non-chill filtered • Natural coloured • all active distilleries, and Port Ellen, located on Islay • Blended by Douglas Laing • Glasgow • Scotland • Limited availability • Still available (price ±€57) • Whiskybase #86450

STORY. A special festive edition of the popular Islay blend “Big Peat” from independent bottlers Douglas Laing. Last year’s edition is filled up with ingredients of all the active Islay distilleries, and a (possibly small) portion of the elusive long-closed Port Ellen.


APPEARANCE. As usual a grumpy man is displayed on the label, described by them as: “A bespoke, vibrant illustration shows Big Peat by the fireside of his cosy Islay home, with 9 Christmas stockings hanging from his fireplace, representing the 9 Single Malt Scotch Whiskies included in this special, one-off Big Peat Christmas recipe”. The colour of the blended whisky is a natural and pale yellow.

NOSE. It is full-on peat (as can be expected), a combination of sweet,  dry, and vegetal peat. Humid, forest floor after a day’s rain. Later on it gets fresher, and more multi-layered. Can we recognize some of the ingredients? Could there be sweet peat from Lagavulin, softer smoke from Coal Ila, flashes of iodine from Laphroaig, more fresh sweet smoke from Port Charlotte, seaside young vanilla-infused smoke from Kilchoman, fruity peat from Bowmore, old leathery smoke from Port Ellen, and some Ardbeginess running through it all? The ninth should then be Bunnahabhain, but I never tasted a peated version of them. Overall the nose is full-filling and lovely.

TASTE. The usual expectants. Smoke, peat, coal. Beautifully multilayered. Dry, wet leaves, peppered, Brussels sprouts, and vegetal. Truthful, sophisticated and reminiscent of all the earlier peated Islay malts that you have tasted. Cask influence is minimal, so no fruits and flowers, just basic peat-infused spirit.

VERDICT. If you like your Islay peat, then this will give you some joyful evenings around Christmas. My favourite Christmas whisky from last year.

Recommended for peat lovers.

A sample of this was purchased from!

«What others say»

  • @Whiskybase: Mean score of 86.37 (67 votes)
  • @whiskynotes: “Peat-heads will love this, despite (or because) it is young and fierce” Score: 84/100
  • @tomswhiskyreviews: “Instantly you are hit with a big smack of Islay, smoke, peat and the sea”
  • @somersetwhisky: “A really well put together peaty blend”
  • @maltandoak: “You can’t get too attached to these one off special editions, but this is one to stock up on”
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