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Compass Box Peat Monster Impressions


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 labelling, 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 hereSome 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 limited editions) 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 whiskymaker, 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 below, provided by Compass Box, I was bang on! Perhaps I am learning something by drinking all this whisky.

© Compass Box Whisky Company

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.

What did Scotchology think of it?

This is a special collaborative whisky review with and as such, this is what the team at Scotchology thought of The Peat Monster from Compass Box. Be sure to check out their blog for more great whisky reviews and information.

Adam - I actually enjoy this scotch. It is not the most complex I've ever tasted, but it isn't necessarily simple either. There is smoke and peat, of course, but it isn't trying to be an Islay, which I appreciate. There is a sweetness right on the edge, like seeing something out of the corner of your eye. I like the complexity.

Michael - Two dimensional. It has this element of brine for me, then an element of peat. It just doesn't have a lot of layers. This one is fairly simple and consistent. It has a decent flavor and I don't mind it.

Peter - It's strong. It definitely. It lingers. It stays a while. It's peaty. it has a lot. It's aggressive (there's the monster). I think it is fun. I like it.

Jenny - The nose is pretty simple. Like I just get peat and smoke. Not much outside of that. Oddly enough, it's better after peated chips and humus. The palate is pretty straightforward. It's peaty. A little bit of smoke. Lingers for a bit. It's enjoyable, just not complex. Straightforward, enjoyable whisky.

Caitlin - My general feeling is "eh". It's underwhelming. Ben - I expected this to be much more aggressive with a name like "Peat Monster." I've seen this on the shelf at the store before and been curious about it. The whisky itself is very fine but I feel a little misled by the name.

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.

Disclaimer: I do not claim to have the nose and palate of a Master Sommelier, however, I am working to train my senses to better identify whisky aromas and flavours. Consider all my whisky 'Impressions' to be a work in progress and I hope to come back to each of them in the future to see if I notice anything different. Most importantly, I'm not just throwing around random aromas, flavours and adjectives for the hell of it; I am trying really hard to critically describe each whisky I taste - WhiskyDad.


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