It is that time of year again. The days are getting colder and shorter. Soon there will hardly be any daylight at all, and Christmas is getting ever closer. A sure sign that it is ‘that’ time of year, is the release of the annual Big Peat Christmas. This is the cask strength version of Big Peat, the Islay whisky in Douglas Laing’s Remarkable Regional Malts series. These Christmas editions have been released since 2011, while the standard Big Peat was launched back in 2009. As always Big Peat consist of single malt from Ardbeg, Caol Ila, Bowmore, Port Ellen and one or more additional undisclosed Islay distilleries. The packaging is cute as ever. I really like the cartoon-ish style used for this product series. It is spot on, in my mind. It is refreshing with a bit of humor in the very serious whisky business.
Douglas Laing describes the Big Peat Christmas 2015 as follows:
Big Peat Christmas contains a shovelful of the finest festive Malts from the Whisky island of Islay, including Ardbegg-nog, Coal Ila, Snowmore and Party Ellen.
The Big Peat Christmas 2015 will be released for sale in both Norway and Sweden (SEK 599) on November 6. It is already available to buy online in the UK at around GBP 50.
Nose (22/25): Full and rich. Peat, of course, and it is relatively big. Sweet, with lots of citrus notes. Quite malty. Licorice and hints of mint and salty sea spray.
Taste (22/25): Even bigger on the peat on the palate. The citrus and the licorice also carry over from the nose, and is added by a nice peppery touch. There are memories of salty, sandy beaches and the ashes of a cold fireplace.
Finish (21/25): A bit drier on the finish, and at the same time sweeter. Dark chocolate, make that dark chili chocolate. Ashes and still a pinch of salt. Warm and medium long finish. The peat is ever present, but it is not overwhelming – more comforting.
Balance (22/25): I admit I have a soft spot for Big Peat Christmas. There are differences between the annual releases, but they are consistently of a very high quality. This is a style of whisky I really enjoy during the dark and cold period of Christmas.
Origin: Scottland / Vol. 700ml / Alc. 53.8%