Booze Review

Whisky Review – Compass Box The Peat Monster


Quick recap…

In mid January, I purchased a Compass Box sampler set that contained five of their core expressions. I have reviewed their Asyla (loved it!). I have also reviewed their Oak Cross (the jury is still out).  Now it’s time for The Peat Monster. Here is what our friends at Compass Box have to say about The Peat Monster:

For those who love big, rich, smoky-peaty malt whiskies, this is for you. Peat Monster combines smoky and peaty single malts from the island of Islay and the Isle of Mull with rich, medium- peated Speyside whisky. The result is a balanced, highly drinkable peaty malt.

Let’s get on with the review…

  • Appearance: Pale, golden color. Thick, slow moving legs form after coating the inside of the glass with whisky.
  • Aroma: It takes a few minutes for the alcohol vapors to subside, but once they do, there is lots of upfront smokiness that reminds me of a smoldering camp fire crossed with a charcoal briquette. Once you get past the smoke, I detected some caramelized sugar and corn sweetness. There are also faint herbal notes lurking in the distance, i.e. sage, wintergreen, eucalyptus.
  • Taste: Very silky mouthfeel. Not watery, but not oily or syrupy either. Starts off slow with those smoky and somewhat medicinal flavors. All of the flavors hit the front half of my tongue. Begins to build up some white pepper spiciness after a few seconds, though it’s never particularly overwhelming. A bit of that sweetness is present in the background. Ends on an herbal and somewhat medicinal note with a very pleasant, warming, and tingly finish that lingers for a minute or two.
  • ABV: 46%

When I first opened The Peat Monster test tube, the alcohol was quite prominent, so in order to avoid the same problem that I had with the Oak Cross, I decided to fill my glass and just let it sit for awhile before I started the nosing and tasting process (so as not to waste any time, I tinkered with the photos while I waited). Thankfully, taking my time with this tasting really paid off, and I must say, I really enjoyed The Peat Monster. Personally, I didn’t find it to be as over the top smoky as the name would suggest. A toned down Ardbeg or Laphroiag 10 is how I would describe it. If you’ve always been curious about heavily peated whisky, but were too afraid to try something like the aforementioned Islay whiskeys, then I think The Peat Monster would be a great way to get your feet wet without becoming overwhelmed by the smokiness. The Peat Monster is a lovely, well balanced whisky. A full bottle is in my future once I make a bit of room in the whisk(e)y cabinet.

29 replies »

  1. I have a 1.75 Liter of the Compass Box Peat Monster Reserve. You can try the Reserve if you would like to compare it with the standard Peat Monster. Since I have the 1.75L I might part with some if you are interested.

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    • You are a seriously generous guy! You bought a 1.75L? Clearly you must enjoy it. Is there a big difference between the standard Peat Monster and the Reserve?

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      • I’ll let you decide for yourself. Jay thinks there is a huge difference towards the positive. I don’t remember well enough to say for sure, but I do like it a lot. A year ago I bought 3 of the 1.75L for $80 a piece (good deal). I gave one to Pete as a gift, I drank one myself (sharing a bunch at parties). I think I offered you one, but you declined because you didn’t want that much of one thing, so that is what I still have left unopened (that will be corrected soon).

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      • Sounds like fun. We’ll have to schedule something. I know The ROK mentioned another WhiskyFest, so perhaps that would be a great time to experiment with regular Monster vs. Monster Reserve.

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  2. Great review, G-LO – and I love the subtle lighting on the pic. You nail the description of the herbal note in the nose. Compass box gets a nuanced peat presentation by blending peated expressions from Islay, Mull, and Ardmore from the Highlands north coast. I really enjoyed it at the recent chocolate pairing tastings. I need to get a sample for a formal review – or maybe just buy a bottle (to join the dozens I have open – sadly). I need to host a whisky party!

    Do you have any more Compass Box samples to review? Which was your favorite so far?

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    • Thanks Josh! The lighting is coming from the light fixture that is hanging over my dining room table. Just have to arrange my subjects right and let my iPhone do the rest of the work. If I were still using film, none of this would be happening.

      I was really impressed with The Peat Monster. Definitely smoky, but there are many other things going on too. I have two more Compass Box samples to go: The Spice Tree and Hedonism. So far, Peat Monster is my favorite and Asyla is a close second. Definitely want to revisit the Oak Cross.

      Regarding your dozens of open bottles, I have this problem on occasion, so what I do is focus on the nearly empty ones and try to finish them over the course of a week or two. Thankfully, Limpd and The Wookie helped me finish the Glenmorangie Sherry Cask on Sunday night. I try not to have more than 10 bottles going at any given time due to limited space and the wrath of Mrs. G-LO. Know what I’m sayin? Heh

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  3. I, indeed, know what you’re saying. I worry about oxidation and evaporation in open bottles too. I focus on the ones more than half empty too – but my problem is I can’t resist opening new ones and having 3 drams and then moving on. Thus I have many that are 3/4 full… I just can’t stop myself!

    I had Oak Cross again. It’s pretty closed and hot until it’s had extensive air (45 minutes is when I noticed it really open up and get fruity and zingy). I’m going to review Hedonism shortly. It’s lovely – but, as a grain whisky, is very different from malt whiskies (which I prefer, in general). Lots of toast and coconut. The Compass Box line is an impressive group that certainly made the malt blend and blended scotch segments more interesting. Peat Monster is a very nice effort and you capture the sense of it very well in your review. It’s gentle without being wimpy; peaty and rich while somehow being light. Bravo.

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    • I TRY to finish bottles within a year of opening them, but there are exceptions. I have a Knob Creek and Buffalo Trace that have been open for close to three years. Nice Bourbons, but others grab my interest and I forget about them for a bit. Although whisky is a decent value when you break it down to cost per serving, I find that full sized bottles are a commitment (which is why I LOVE the mixed six-pack thing with craft beer).

      Since we’re both on a Whisk(e)y journey of sorts, trying a wide variety gets difficult thanks to the shortage of miniature bottles in the US. That’s why I couldn’t resist the Compass Box sampler. The fact that it came in stunning packaging also influenced my purchase.

      Totally agree with you about Compass Box. I know I’ve said this on numerous occasions (on this blog and others), but until recently, I gave blends very little respect. Compass Box and a sample of the Chivas 18 reawakened my interest in blends. While I still prefer the individuality and intensity of Single Malts, I have finally learned to keep my options open. I may not like them all, but they are always worth a try.

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      • I agree with wishing that there were more small bottles of whisky available in the States. One of these days I’m going to save up some money for an order from Master of Malt or the Whisky Exchange. There are a bunch of miniatures and 3×200 mL sets that are only available over there. There are a handful of mini and 3×200 sets that you can buy here, but availability is pretty limited and you have to hunt around for them.

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  4. Reblogged this on Words Have Teeth and commented:
    Well I reblogged the other two, I might as well Continue with the series. Since I can’t drink right now (bad tooth getting taken care of today) I will lean on the guys at boozedancing to do what they do best, write great reviews of amazing whiskeys. Keep it up.

    Slainte,
    Chuck

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