Compass Box The Peat Monster ~ 46% (Compass Box)

46% ABV, £37 for 70cl

Score: 86/100

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What they say:

For those who love big, rich, peaty and smoky malt whiskies, this is your whisky. Bottled at 46%, “The Peat Monster” combines extremely smoky malt whisky from Islay with medium-peated Highland whiskies to create a balanced and approachable monster, but a monster nonetheless. Enjoy!

Complex and Multi-layered

A whisky for lovers of complex, multi-layered peaty whiskies. What makes it fit perfectly into the Compass Box house style is the balance of richness and subtle sweetness that the casks of Speyside malt provide to the smoky- peaty Islay and island malts. This is the great benefit of combining single malts from different distilleries; we are not limited to the produce of one distillery. Like a winemaker blending grape varieties, we can create layers of complexity. For recent batches, we have introduced even more complexity by adding some south shore Islay malt and island malt to enhance the peatiness and earthiness. As with all our whiskies, several months of marrying before bottling allow the flavours of each of the whiskies to knit together.

The Signature Range from Compass Box

Peat Monster is part of the Signature Range from Compass Box. The five Scotch whiskies in this range cover the entire spectrum of Scotch whisky styles, from the delicate, sweet character of Asyla, to the subtle vanilla, clove and fruity characteristics of Oak Cross, the rich and spice notes of The Spice Tree, the peaty- smoky character of The Peat Monster and the elegant flavours of vanilla cream, toffee and coconut in Hedonism. Each is made from the highest quality casks, to create more complexity. The whiskies are combined according to each recipe and returned to casks for marrying up to 24 months before bottling. Steps like these enhance complexity, flavour integration and soft mouthfeel. Extra steps, but we think they’re worth it.

Flavour Descriptors

Peaty, smoky malt with hints of fruitiness; a balanced whisky with great depth and complexity.
Recommendations A fantastic late-night digestif whisky. Excellent with blue vein cheeses.
Distillery Sourcing  Made from a marriage of an Islay South shore malt, a peated malt, a peated malt from the Isle of Mull and a smoky Speyside malt.
Wood Refill American oak.
Bottling Details  Bottled at 46%. Not chill filtered. Natural colour.

What I say:

The Peat Monster is another all malt blend but this time a completely different set of single malts are used, also a minimum of 25-30 casks would be used per batch (possibly partly to match demand). The blend is made from ~ 20-28% Talisker, ~40% Laphroaig and ~10-14% either Ardmore or Ledaig. Previous batches had been constructed with around 46% Caol Ila replacing the Laphroaig but availability had changed – a situation they are hoping to reverse. Due to the fluctuation in availability Gregg explained that as a company they had taken the decision to start buying and maturing New Make from various (~5) distilleries and maturing them in 1st fill Buffalo Trace Bourbon Barrels. Buffalo Trace barrels give the best results as they have one of the best cooperage’s and the barrel to variation is minimal – giving consistent maturation results. Gregg sent round sprays of both Caol Ila peaty New Make and then 1 year old Caol Ila Matured in 1st Fill Bourbon cask, the difference was obvious with a reduction in the harshness of the peat and instant vanilla essence character taken on after maturation.

Colour:

Full gold

Nose:

Peanut, peat, reasonably sweet honey

Taste:

Sweet peanut peat, smooth, Madagascan vanilla and coconut notes underneath

Finish:

Warming peat, gentle reflux with vanilla