Here it is, the frightening peat monster that was distilled out of malt that was peated to 131ppm (whilst the ‘Futures’ used malt peated to 80ppm). Everybody knows that ppms in the barley and ppms in the spirit aren't the same thing and that one may lose a huge proportion of the peatiness during the mashing/brewing/distilling process, but still, 131! Unusual bottle too!
Nose: once again, it’s a bit hard to get many aromas from such high strength but the first overall sensation I have is ‘an ashtray full of cigar ash at four in the morning’ plus quite some olive oil.
With water: a maelstrom of kerosene, diesel oil, tar, fermenting grass, canned sardines and even anchovies. And both the habanos and the olive oil are still there. The only possible comparison with other ‘general profiles’ would be with ‘old young’ Ardbegs such as the 10yos white label.
Mouth (neat): very, very unusual! The peat is extremely big, even at full strength, and you get almost the same flavours as when you chew raw peated malt. Other than that there’s some other ‘stuff’ (fruits and such) but I feel it’s too dangerous to go any further without bringing this baby down to roughly 45% (Serge, you sissy!).
With water: an immense smokiness, notes of pipe juice, salmiak, Japanese oyster sauce, mastic, walnut skin and ultra-dry fino sherry (yes we know this one didn’t mature in sherry casks.)
Finish: long, extremely tarry and liquoricy, with a little salt – or rather a saltiness.
Comments: good, one may have thought that after all the fuss, this unusual whisky may have brought nothing but shrugs and disappointments. But truth is that this is a very impressive beverage, both very spectacular and extremely good, far from being only a peat record breaker. As Jean de la Fontaine would have said, this garage whisky has got ‘le ramage et le plumage’ (both warbling and plumage.) The new Le Pin of the whisky world? SGP:249 – 89 points. (I’m sure Octomore will fetch 90+ points within only a few years, maybe even one single year, but of course you have to be a peatophile to enjoy this. Now, who isn't these days?)
[These tasting notes have been reproduced from Serge's excellent 'Whiskyfun' website]