For this fourth dram we were treated to the big man's own dram - Big Peat himself.
Bottled at 46% ABV, Douglas Laing's "Big Peat" is a blended Islay malt containing spirit from Ardbeg, Caol Ila, Bowmore and, amazingly, Port Ellen. It's reputation is further backed up by the fact it picked up the top prize in its category at the World Whisky Awards 2010 and for those anoraks out there this sample was from batch 59.
Nose - Buttered cut grass, smokey lemon, salted caramel and more lemon with it becoming more like zingy cheesecake. Peat and smoke soon take over with the saltiness from the salted caramel becoming more coastal. A well rounded nose with great balance of peat and spirit fruitiness.
Palate - Soft sweet smoke, still extremely well balanced and very smooth. Some darker dried fruits arrive and combine with the citrus notes on the nose to make something similar to the dried fruit citrus mix you would get for making cakes. The alcohol contained within is not drying in the slightest and given time in the mouth disappears to allow the dram to become very like a fantastic apple juice.
Finish - Clean, short and very refreshing. Fresh fruit juice ending.
Overall this is everything I expected it to be. A perfect blend of all that's great about Islay. The fantastic peat, the fruity spirit and the coastal style that only comes from maturation on the rugged island itself. An excellent dram and well worth the price which is very reasonable indeed. One could say a whisky that everyone should own.
Well after the four drams we had sampled I could get a great sense that something very special was about to be unveiled as the grand finale...and how right I was, 23 year old Ardbeg no less and I shall return tomorrow to bring you my notes on this absolutely awesome whisky.
As with all of these updates relevant links can be found below.
Until next time,
Big Peat by Douglas Laing - http://www.thewhiskyexchange.com/P-10738.aspx
The Whisky Wire - http://www.thewhiskywire.com
Douglas Laing & Co. - http://www.douglaslaing.com/home.php?DOC_INST=1