Malt Advocate Whisky Awards “Scotch Whisky: Blend of the Year”: Compass Box, “The Peat Monster”February 6th, 2010
Compass Box, “The Peat Monster,” 46%, $60
John Glaser, the creator of Compass Box whiskies, has been one of the most progressive and innovative whisky “blenders” in this generation. Some of his creations consist entirely of grain whiskies. Others are more “traditional” and combine grain whiskies with malt whiskies. But he also masterfully creates blends exclusively from only malt whisky (which has been referred to in the past as “vatted” whisky). The Peat Monster is just that: a blend of malt whiskies.
The formula for this whisky has changed slightly since its inception—and I think for the better. They’ve added some Laphroaig into the mix of Caol Ila and Ardmore. This whisky demonstrates the layered complexity that can be achieved by marrying whisky from different distilleries—and different regions.
I particularly enjoy the rich maltiness and oily texture that provide firm bedding and flavor contrast to the classic Islay notes—tar, boat docks, brine, smoked olive, seaweed, and kiln ash. More subtle cracked peppercorn, mustard seed, and citrus fruit add complexity, leading to a long, warming finish. It’s amazing how a small change in composition can significantly benefit the overall flavor profile of a whisky. If you love smoky whiskies, then you must try The Peat Monster.
Tomorrow’s Malt Advocate Whisky Awards announcement: Scotch Whisky: Single Malt of the Year.