Whisky Review – Big Peat 25 Year Old (Vintage Series – Gold Edition) @DLaingWhisky

Big Peat 25 year old

52.1% ABV

Non chill filtered

No added colouring

£175.00 from Master of Malt

Big Peat has been a long running favourite of mine. The Christmas releases have always been to die for. Recently there have been an influx of variations along the theme, some may say too many with every country and its scallywag having a special labelled release. Not for me. I can’t get enough of the stuff.

Well now Douglas Laing are releasing a series of 3 Big Peat vintage editions. Big Peat has always been a non age statement up to date but here we have a Gold edition release aged at 25. That’s quite an age for Islay whisky nowadays and most Islay’s of that age would pack a pretty crazy price tag with it. This ones coming in around the £180 at retail which, let’s face it isn’t cheap. But then compared to some of the 25 year old Islay single malts. It becomes reasonable.

What’s most important is how it smells and tastes though. So here we go.

Nose.

On first sniff we have some massive smoke! Quite a surprise as often the older the smokey whisky the less smoke you get but this has some seriously bellowing twiggy bonfire smoke going on. There’s a touch of sweet and burnt caramel in the background. After a good time sat in the glass the smoke has calmed down. Still pungent though, just more relaxed. Bonfire smoke. A touch of wet rope. Maritime salty sea air. Fresh tar. Pipe ash. There is caramel sweetness with a touch of stewed apple. Burnt brown sugar. There’s a herbal liquorice, but purer, more like fennel or liquorice root. It’s very Islay and very Big Peat. After a LOT of time this dram becomes fruitier and vibrant. Lots of tropical fruits. Grilled pineapple. Fresh mango. A lovely delicious mix. But it takes a LONG time. Pour this. Wait an hour (drink something else) and come back. It needs that time.

Palate.

Immediately sweet peat on the arrival. Waves of sugar, toffee, rich caramel and honey with some interlaced smoke and ashiness. Later on we get some sweet liquorice and a touch of watered down and sweetened fresh lemon juice. There’s an occasional wave of clove speared ham, charred and crispy. With more time in the glass we get tropical fruit notes, tutti fruity like. A hint of mango and papaya.

Finish.

In the very long finish we have the remaining fruitiness, some dry smoke and a touch of sea saltiness. The smoke hangs around for an age. It’s like having enforced reminiscing of a great cigar.

Adding water.

The smallest of drop added to the remains (I’ve been enjoying this too much!). The nose has an increased smoky punch now, more herbal and a little less fruit and sweetness. The palate reflects this, while still sweet the herbal green and liquorice has more to say. The finish is dirtier, more earth and ash and elemental. Personally prefer this undiluted but can understand how the filth in the finish is appealing and I do like it in fairness both diluted and undiluted.

Conclusion.

This dram needs a LOT of time. It needs a lot of time to open up. I was trying this over the space of an hour and it was still developing. I can’t help but think I’ve missed out on a lot as a result of this. Fortunately I looked ahead and bought ahead. I have a share in a bottle and a whole one for a later date. 😉

Thanks to Douglas Laing for the official review sample.

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