It's Peat Monster's 20th Birthday, Compass Box has a Nice Surprise
March 8, 2023 –––––– David Fleming
A new release from Compass Box raises a glass to old times, as it celebrates the 20th anniversary of Peat Monster, its beloved peat bomb and longtime fan favorite. Peat Monster Cask Strength: Origin Story is 56.7% ABV, and its label artwork of skyscrapers, yellow taxicabs, and subway steam vents still pays homage to the early days of the Monster on the streets of Manhattan.
Those early days date back to 2003, when Jonathan Goldstein of Park Avenue Liquor in New York City reached out to Compass Box founder John Glaser, asking him to make a peated whisky as a store exclusive. Goldstein wanted a peat bomb, and after several attempts, Glaser shipped off a bottle that Goldstein described as “a monster.” The store’s customers loved it, the name caught on, and Peat Monster was born.
Peat Monster went into general release about a year after that, although Compass Box and Park Avenue did get the band back together for Peat Monster's 10th Anniversary, a very limited release of 300 bottles in 2013, also cask strength. The general release 20th-anniversary expression does much better, with 9,126 bottles available globally.
In keeping with its usual transparency, Compass Box notes this 20th Anniversary release is comprised of 63.9% Caol Ila aged in refill American oak hogsheads, bourbon barrels, and refill sherry puncheons; 35% Williamson Islay malt (this is teaspooned Laphroaig) in refill American oak hogsheads; and 1.1% of its Highland malt blend aged in heavily toasted French oak casks. It’s also partially finished for 3-4 months in American oak casks seasoned with grain spirit.