Guest post! We are debuting a collaboration review with our very first guest blogger, Shane Kinloch, focusing on the Compass Box Peat Monster. We’re not sure if guest blogging will become any kind of thing, but it was a fun idea and we were glad to try it out. Thanks Shane! Shane’s blog, WhiskyDad, is full of whisky news, reviews, and meditations about the larger panorama of life from Australia/Tasmania. We heartily recommend you check the rest of his blog out. Incidentally, you can find our own views on the same malt there, or check them out closer to home here. Now, without further delay, let’s get to the scotch!
What is it?
Distillery: Compass Box
Name: The Peat Monster
Make: Blended Scotch whisky
Extra Info: Compass Box is a bit of a rebel in the Scotch whisky world, having the first edition of their Spice Tree blend ordered off the shelves by the Scotch Whisky Association in 2006 and for being an active campaigner for total transparency in whisky labeling, contrary to current UK and EU laws which state only the age of the youngest whisky component in a bottle can be declared on a label or packaging.
Why did I buy it?
I am all for Compass Box’s campaign for transparency, which was what first put the company on my radar. You can read about Compass Box’s position and show your support here. Some of their bottlings are easier to find than others and The Peat Monster is one of the easier ones to locate in Australia. It may be more expensive than your average blend, but that is partly because The Peat Monster is made up exclusively of single malt scotch whiskies. There is no cheaper grain whisky used in this blend, which is common with most blended whiskies on the market.
What did I think of it?
Presentation: Some of the Compass Box labels (especially the special releases) are works of art. The Peat Monster’s label is unlike any other whisky bottle label you are likely to see. Gold text and imagery on a dark brown background, it conjures images of a cross between a Lovecraftian Cthulhu and Audrey II of the Little Shop of Horrors. I love it and it proudly displays whisky maker, John Glaser’s name, which should be done more often.
Appearance: Non-chill filtered and of natural colour, The Peat Monster is quite pale, being what I would call light gold coloured. A swirl results in thick legs clinging to the inside of the glass.
Aroma: The following is a no-bullshit admission and although it could be just a lucky guess, it did happened and I am quite proud of myself.
When I first opened the bottle and poured a dram, my initial thoughts on nosing were of Laphroaig and then Ledaig. As you can see from the nifty info-graphic, provided by Compass Box, I was bang on! Perhaps I am learning something by drinking all this whisky.
It is obviously smoky, but with a maritime element; Seaweed or wet sand. There is also an acridity to the smokiness, but it’s not unpleasant. The 46% ABV was surprisingly noticeably, suggesting this whisky is quite volatile, but that may just be because my part of Australia is suffering through a heat wave at the moment. Adding water really subdued the smoky aromas but unfortunately didn’t bring much of anything else forward. There was something faint underneath that I couldn’t quite make out — pear skin perhaps?
Flavour: Oily mouthfeel, cooling menthol, lots of pepper. Lives up to its name. Strong smokiness, catnip to peat freaks.
Finish: Long and mouth coating, slightly bitter smoke, lingering spice. Slight warming deep in the chest. The empty glass smells of aromatic woodchips, like those commonly used for smoking meat.
Would I buy it again?
Yes, but I am in no rush. I would like to sample more of what Compass Box has to offer before returning to The Peat Monster. One for peat freaks and better than your average blend partly because it is made up entirely of quality single malt Scotch whisky without the addition of any grain whisky.