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Douglas Laing introduced the vatted malt (now blended malt) Big Peat several years ago. It contains Caol Ila, Bowmore, Ardbeg and even some Port Ellen. This year, they take it a step further. Big Peat Cask Strength has arrived to brighten up your Christmas (see label!). But is the whisky, now at 57,8% ABV, also better? It’s very pale.
The nose is peated, surely, but humble. Some smoked ham and oysters, sea salt. The difference with the regular ‘Big Peat’ on the nose is not is not really a surprise.
It’s creamy on the palate and the alcohol level does give it quite some punch. Peat smoke and rubber, capers, but also a lot of sweetness in the guise of citrus and vanilla.
The finish is spicy and long, making this a pleasant step up from the classic Big Peat.
In my opinion – based completely on what I smell and taste – the blend contains mostly Bowmore, upholstered with Caol Ila and to lesser degree Ardbeg. I think the part of Port Ellen is negligible and mostly meant for marketing purposes. Nevertheless, I’ll gladly find this bottle under the Christmas tree. It’s the ideal (and affordable!) dram for those cold winter nights.