Whisky Review – Big Peat Christmas Edition 2015

Big Peat Christmas Edition 2015

53.8% ABV

Non chill filtered

No colouring

£49.84 from The Whisky Exchange

There are many traditions in the holiday season, like being late for many appointments, and my review of Big Peat Christmas Edition 2015 is no exception. I’ve not been very well (aaaaahhhhh – no that’s ok, no sympathy required) for a while with colds, Christmas, work and everyone else getting in the way of my fun reviewing whisky. So, it’s good to be back, and to review this yearly release of Big Peat presented at cask strength, non-chill filtered and colour free. Come on! Let’s get it on, and this is still available should you want to (and why wouldn’t you?) grab a bottle. 


First sniff is sweet, thick sugars, syrup, sweet cinema popcorn, earthy. Then….meat…BBQ. The smoke starts bellowing up, some medicinal TCP laden hospital bandages. Bubbling bacon fat, pork scratchings, bacon jelly beans (sorry – just had some at work today and they reminded me of Islay!), and this is just first sniff! There’s some young stuff in here, but Islay whiskies don’t have to be old, if you want peat (and this is BIG Peat), then it needs to be young, vibrant and have loads of smokey goodness going on, and this is full of it. Ok, 5 mins gone and now we have more maritime, iodine, sea air and salt, shellfish, scallops, the instal sweetness has now gone to the background and all this other bounty of aromas are swimming around in the front. It’s lovely, lovely stuff. Totally reminiscing over Islay now. 15 mins in the glass and everything is becoming nicely integrated, everything mentioned is well formed together and brings such a delicious smelling experience. 


Beautifully sweet arrival, sugar syrup, toffee pennies, some blackcurrant jam, quite spirit driven (not a bad thing though) then a muffled bang of alcohol heat, but it’s very gentle, not as I was expecting, refined, delicious. The delivery moves on and waves of those beautiful Islay signature flavours, juicy shellfish, soft barley stew complete with the meatiness, the remnants of a long burnt cigar. Utterly mouthwatering. Touches of sea salt on gammon steaks. Of course the smoke is back washing through the nasal passages and giving a great menthol cigarette note. 


Loooong finish, lots of Islay welcoming hugs of warmth and peaty splendour. Touches of bracken fruits remain through the smoke and earthy leftovers. 

Adding water. 

I am utterly surprised at how great this is at cask strength I really don’t want to add water. Oh well. Just a few drops. The diluted nose really hasn’t changed an awful lot, it’s possibly slightly sweeter, but otherwise still full of all the previously experienced joy. The palate is more of a balanced experience, the ABV burn is now not experienced, leaving a longer exposure through arrival and development. Again, I’m experiencing very little difference in the content, a slightly more bacon intense development and a slightly sweeter arrival, so the intensity is up a notch or two. The mouthfeel is slightly weakened, but still awesome, the finish has slightly less smoke. I personally prefer the stronger, undiluted experience, but I can see the favour in the more balanced palate. 


Another awesome Big Peat experience. Full of Islay wonder. This is a perfect cold weather dram, or for anyone who likes their big, tasty Islay experiences you just simply have to have a bottle of this superb whisky to sip on. I know I have. 🙂

Much thanks to Big Peat (Douglas Laing) for the review sample