Peat’s good, isn’t it? Every time I catch myself thinking I’m more of an unpeated bourbon/sherry barrel kind of chap, something peaty rears up and reminds me that really, peat is so intrinsic to scotch. There’s something special about how it accentuates certain things, it tugs at the visual memories and unlocks olfactory memories (if not fantasies) of all sorts of wind swept beaches, farmyards, bogs, bothies, foul weather and gathering storms. Bonfires, sunny BBQs and overflowing medicine cabinets. It’s strong stuff. If the American shaman had Peyote, the Norse berserkers Fly Agaric, then the whisky drinker has peat.
On the nose and it’s peaty. Sweet, sherried and rich and strong but standing right behind its is a nice toffee, in fact a minted toffee. And then a prickle of ginger and some sourness and some unstruck matches. There faint wood smoke and a little creaminess, it’s got a nice richness to the nose. Omni-directional peat, like it’s tugging in two ways at once, there’s the signpost to the farmyard, 4 miles over there and another pointing to the shoreline, 1 & 3/8th of a mile over yar. More smelling and more toffee, more gentle sourness, some blackened lemon skins in a dead fire grate. More wood appears. (After a few sips the nose has more fruit and peach black tea). In the immortal words of Giles Wemberly-Hogg ‘YUMSK!’
In the mouth and I’m ready for a peaty onslaught. It can’t be any other way. Off we go. Hot sweet Jesus! Actually, strike that. Wrong way round. Sweet, hot, Jesus! Initially the sweetness races out of the blocks like a butterscotch rocket but, this is a peat powered rocket and as it races along the tongue it explodes with powerful, muscular minty mineral peat and ginger and silage. Everything goes off at once and it unloads a lot of flavours like an anti-tank mine. Whomp. I’m actually trying to gather my thoughts, grab the threads of flavour as it spreads out in all directions. A nice saltiness. I need a minute. Goes through a nice minty phase with a pleasant tingle then the silage spreads out like an overturned wagon and a richer creamy peat arrives. It’s a spicy, woody finish flecked with saline. Reminds me of the 10th anniversary Port Askaig a wee bit. And that was good.
Sitting here and the gingery peppery finish is strangely my favourite bit. It’s punchy and hot (not in a bad way) and feisty and zesty. No bitterness, only slightly drying. Lovely.
Any good? Yeah, though you have to want a whisky that wakes you up in the second act and sets your troos ablaze.!