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Times were pleasant for the people there until finally one, a fiend out of hell, began to work his evil in the world. Grendel was the name of this grim demon haunting the marches, marauding round the heath and the desolate fens; he had dwelt for a time in misery among the banished monsters, Cain's clan, whom the creator had outlawed and condemned as outcasts. --Beowulf
Peat Monster is no "Grendel" of the peat world (indeed, a simple Ardbeg 10 might seem peatier to some, ditto with Lagavulin) but the Monster does pack a nice wallop that makes one's cheeks sink in a little upon first sipping the thing.
Here are my tasting notes:
Appearance: Pale with nigh any hue other than a tinge of milky yellow
Nose: A swat of peat open-palms the nostrils, along with oak and sea salt. Breathe deep. It's a rustically pleasing type of affrontery, kind of like a campfire glowing deep in the heart of a bog that one stumbled upon after dark without a torch.
Taste: Initial pinch of peat and smoke dissipates into a spicy number with a touch of seaweed and a slight hint of caramel. This all yields to an unexpected evocation of mescal that takes a second to identify and perhaps even two or three sips more to pin down like an unwitting accomplice.
Finish: Longer than to be expected given the relatively thin body that does not coat the mouth in any real sense. I think, unlike some of my friends, that I like the finish most of all in this dram.
Lasting impression: I enjoyed Peat Monster more at first. I don't find myself reaching much for the bottle now, and it's not even one third down. It will linger in my cupboard like some lost soul, but I like it there all the same. I will certainly drink it all down before it goes bad. The label alone is worth keeping up there, not to mention the fact that John Glaser breathed life into this watery ur-faust.
I wish that Mr. Glaser had seen fit to mix in just a bit more Laphroaig. Might that have helped the balance? Who knows. As Peat Monster now stands, it seems a bit uneven, like a three legged cow plodding across the moors alone without a herd for company. This said, I don't regret buying the one bottle. It was a fun experiment and I admire Mr. Glaser for taking chances on such a grand scale.