Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Big Pete: Douglas Laing Big Peat


The Big Peat is an independent Vatted Malt produced by Douglas Laing & Co and is available in Australia only at Dan Murphy’s (to my knowledge). I don’t own a bottle, but was fortunate enough to be given a sample by The Baron (passed on by the trusty El Capitan). As a result my tasting has been pretty small (only two drams) but I thought I’d strike while the iron is hot (and get in a review before The Baron).

I had expected this whisky to be heavily peated, something in the Octomore Super Nova range but was pleasantly surprised. Unlike those, this is an eminently drinkable whisky. I am not the only person to observe this – Jim Murray awarded it Best Vatted Malt in his yearly Whisky Bible. It was also surprisingly light in colour, much like the Ardbeg 10yo, which always surprises me with its lightness of colour.

The whisky itself contains a blend of whisky’s produced by the Ardbeg, Bowmore, Caol Ila and Port Ellen distilleries. Although from my research it is unclear how old the selected sources are.  In the past I haven’t had much success with independent bottling’s – I’ve tried two Gordon and McPhails and probably wouldn’t buy either again. But I would happily by some ‘Big Peat’.

As usual, Mrs Colonel helped me with the nosing and she advises me that Big Peat has a hint of a nice cup of honey lemon tea. Unfortunately it seems that my own olfactory senses are still unable to discern the difference between whisky and beer and this affliction would seem likely to continue despite my many attempts at nosing. Fortunately Mrs Colonel is a reliable whisky noser and my reviews do not suffer.

My first impression of the whisky was salt. I could taste it overwhelmingly until I added some water. Once I did this, I found the whisky much more drinkable. I would recommend this to others as the best way to drink it. I  really enjoyed this whisky, it is not as smooth as a Laphroaig, but is still an easy drinking dram. I preferred it chilled and had it with some Whisky Stones but I’m sure ice would suffice.

I give it 5/7 lighting bolts.