I’ve never really tried peated scotches, having started a foray into this fascinating world. The world of scotches and whiskies has always been an adventure. Trying a variety of single malt scotches, I was quick to take a dive into Japanese and then Swedish whiskies. Even now I’m trying to source a drop from Switzerland. Just for something a bit original (I love the fresh water off the mountains, that poured into street fountains. So there is bound to be a delicious dram from the alps). Of late I have really tried to bring it back to Scotland. So I decided after I had finished my writing for the day, what better time than a Friday afternoon to give the peat a go.
I must say, I had an eight year old, peated single malt scotch, in Tullamarine airport. This left me with mixed feelings about peat. The scotch felt like you had been hit in the face by a diesel train, traveling at 100 kilometres per hour. It was a super contrast to an 18 year old Talisker, I had had courtesy of a friend.
So anyway, off I go to Grain. A bar in the rocks I had never been to before in my life. It’s a rather swish place. All nice woods inside. A little bit of a view looking over towards the direction of circular quay. The reason I chose this bar, is for its phenomenal scotch and whisky list. My quest I had set myself was for a dram of the Talisker Port Ruighe. My all time favourite scotch thus far has been the Glen Morangie Quinta Ruban. A 12 year old scotch, matured in bourbon casks, but finished in port casks. I decided that the port finish was the key! This also would hopefully mellow down the peat for a peat novice. It would also avert round two of the airport adventure.
Sadly though, when I got there they had run out of the Port Ruighe. It was a popular dram. The bar tender was a nice chap and very knowledgeable. So he was already looking for other port finishes scotches and offering ideas of sherry cask finishes. If I hadn’t had my short list ready in my had and not set out with the intention of adding something to my collection. I probably would have happily been directed about their extensive drinks list and been up for a suggestion. But I was a man with a mission, so on target I stayed.
Next on my list to try, was Lagavulin 16 year old. It’s a staple. The age in theory, should make the peat gentle. So boots in I go!
I take a smell of the scotch. Gazing, out to the trees and the street outside, there are a few people walking around. A deep, rich, smell of smoke reaches my nose. Wood smoke? Perhaps some maritime smells. I’d say it is more akin to standing next to a steam locomotive, rather than a diesel engine. It draws me back to memories of the Hotham Valley’s steam train.
On the tongue, there is some woody character. There is a smoothness though, the peat is much more gentle. Perhaps age is the key with peated scotches for me. Dark cholate, some burnt toffee.
A dash of water and the smells of a rocky cave reach my nose. Maybe the taste changes, a little spice or cured meats?
The finish is very long. In fact the longest I have ever experienced, thus far. Flavours lingers. After sipping this over about half an hour, there was a hint of this lingering flavour and smell, maybe for half an hour or so after.
I’d have to say for the start of my sojourn into peated scotch, this was the place to begin in my personal experience. Aged peat for beginners. Definitely give this one a go. I am certain I will again.
* All experience and opinions are my own, in no affiliation to any work or occupation.
Your experiences may also be completely different to mine, as drinks are all personal