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Compass Box was started in 2000 by ex-Diageo marketing executive John Glaser as a "whiskymaker". Which is an apt descriptor as they are not a distiller - they create blends and vatted malts such as this one, its most popular product. Compass Box whiskies are noted for being experimental, innovative and, given Glaser's background, highly designed with excellent packaging.
The Peat Monster is 50% Islay malt (from the village of Port Askaig, so perhaps Caol Ila and/or Bunnahabhain, which are nearby), 30% Speyside (Ardmore) and 20% Island malt (not sure where exactly). It was created on commission by an American retailer, according to Glaser's video on his website.
The colour is very pale straw - yellower than the colour scale on this site can suggest. Strangely, there are tiny white particles floating in the spirit. If anyone can shed any light on what they are, let me know!
The nose is gentle peat, very slight bacon (as if it's just the smell of the kitchen about 2 hours after you've fried some), dry hay, a hint of banana and cardamom. Very slight nose. Water brings out the fruitier elements of banana and lychee.
The real burst begins on the palate, more so than the nose - lots of peat smoke, heat, and toasted sesame oil. Under the smoke is that light fruity malt character. Water makes the oily spirit creamer in the mouth, which is welcome.
The finish is so long - ash and liquid smoke sit there as your mouth dries, while retaining pears and some iodine. However, I find the longer it sits in the glass, the more the flavours and aromas fade.
This has very good balance and layering of fruit and smoke - this whisky accomplishes what it set out to do. But I would have welcomed a little more complexity - we have peat and fruit, and otherwise not that much else going on.