Ever since it was announced in November, right around the time I interviewed chairman Fred Laing, I’ve been looking forward to the Big Peat 1985 33 Years Old from Douglas Laing — the oldest Big Peat ever released.
Old Islay whisky is often glorious. You can bet there’s a large chunk of Caol Ila in there. There’s many examples of delicious old Caol Ila out there. This old Big Peat comes with a twist though: it is finished in both sherry and cognac casks. Not your average 30-plus peater…
Big Peat 33 Years Old (47.2%, Douglas Laing, 1500 bts.)
Nose: Lovely gentle and mature notes of bonfire smoke and embers, with a subtle sweetness, highlighted by honey and prunes, but also vanilla and raw sugar. Finally a touch of tobacco leaves, menthol, paraffin wax and bung cloth. Taste: Caramel-glazed apples and plum juice, but also medicinal peat, as well as a touch of smoke. Some barbecued steak with a nice char, but also a big pinch of salt, followed by cracked black peppercorns. Finish: Medium in length. Peat and sweet orchard fruits.
Maybe not as full-bodied as I would’ve liked, but a top dram nonetheless. There’s a sweetness that weaves everything together yet always stays in its lane.